World has wasted chance to build back better after Covid, UN says


    World has wasted chance to build back better after Covid, UN says

    Climate crisis

    World faces disastrous 2.7C temperature rise on current climate plans, UN warns

    Report says countries must strengthen climate ambitions after wasting chance to build back better after Covid

    A power plant and traffic in New York, US

    Joanna Depledge, of the Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance, said: “The picture painted by the report is grim: less than half of the NDCs are genuinely more ambitious than the first round submitted in 2015 or 2016.

    “There is an ambition gap between country pledges and the cuts needed to limit temperature rise … and even more troubling is an implementation gap – many large emitters are not even on track to meet their existing pledges.”

    Longer-term net zero pledges for mid-century have now been adopted by 49 countries and the EU, putting about half of global emissions, half of GDCP and about a third of the global population under net zero pledges, according to the report, which took into account pledges made before the end of September.

    But Andersen said net zero promises from governments were often vague or ambiguous. If these could be “made robust and implemented fully”, the world could shave 0.5C off the projected warming of 2.7C that Unep predicted, she said.

    Joeri Rogelj, the director of research at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, said: “If implemented, current net zero targets would lower temperature projections for the next century by about half a degree – bringing central estimates close to 2C – yet still not in line with holding global warming well below 2C, let alone 1.5C.

    “On the other hand, the report also highlights that in many cases countries’ near-term targets are not yet putting emissions a clear track towards achieving their net zero goals. This casts doubt on whether these targets will ever be achieved.”

    Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, said: “It’s time for the government to start telling the truth about how far away we are from where we need to be in this decisive decade. This report makes clear there can be no shifting of the goalposts from action this decade to targets in the middle of this century. If we follow this course, we will fail to keep global warming to 1.5C and betray future generations.

    “The window for action is closing, and it is critical that in the budget and the days ahead, the prime minister and the government step up to make Cop26 the summit of climate delivery, not climate delay.”

    The emissions gap report also highlighted methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that arises from animal husbandry, natural gas extraction and waste. The US, the EU and more than 20 other countries have signed a pledge to reduce methane globally by 30% this decade.

    Unep said methane was the second biggest contributor to temperature rises, after carbon, and that about 20% of annual methane emissions could be cut at little or no cost, for instance through better management of natural gas drilling, stopping flaring and capping old wells.

    Myles Allen, a professor of geosystem science at the University of Oxford, has championed the idea of forcing fossil fuel companies and other big emitters to pay for the permanent storage of the carbon they emit, through a “carbon takeback obligation”, using carbon capture and storage technology.

    He said: “On current progress, we’ll close the 2030 emissions gap some time in the 2080s. There is no appetite for reducing fossil fuel consumption globally at the rate required. The only remaining option is to scale up safe and permanent disposal of carbon dioxide, such as storing it back underground, instead of fly-tipping it into the atmosphere.”


    • Climate crisis
    • Cop26
    • Coronavirus
    • United Nations
    • Greenhouse gas emissions
    • news
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    Published at Tue, 26 Oct 2021 18:06:21 +0000

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