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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Climate change: UN warning over nations’ climate plans


Despite all the promises to take action, the world is still on course to heat up to dangerous levels.

That is the UN’s most recent blunt assessment.

Its experts examined the climate plans of more than 100 countries and concluded that we are on the wrong track.

Scientists recently confirmed that in order to avoid the worst effects of warmer temperatures, global carbon emissions must be reduced by 45 percent by 2030.

However, according to this new analysis, those emissions are expected to rise by 16% during this time period.

This could eventually result in a temperature rise of 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.9 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, far exceeding the international community’s limits.

According to Patricia Espinosa, the UN’s chief climate negotiator, “the 16 percent increase is a huge cause for concern.”

“It stands in stark contrast to scientific calls for rapid, sustained, and large-scale emission reductions to avoid the most severe climate consequences and suffering, particularly among the world’s most vulnerable.”

It’s a stark warning about the magnitude of the challenge that will be faced at the COP26 climate conference, which will be held in Glasgow in just over six weeks.

The main goal of the massive event is to keep hopes of limiting global temperature rise alive by persuading nations to reduce their emissions.

Countries are required to update their carbon reduction plans every five years under the terms of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

However, according to the UN, only 113 of the 191 countries involved in the agreement have so far improved their pledges.

According to Alok Sharma, the British minister who will preside over the COP26 conference, nations with ambitious climate plans are “already bending the curve of emissions downwards.”

“However, unless all countries, particularly the largest economies, take action, these efforts risk being in vain.”

According to a Climate Action Tracker study, only a few of the G20 group of leading industrial nations, including the United Kingdom and the United States, have strengthened their emission-cutting targets.

In another study, the World Resources Institute and Climate Analytics point out that China, India, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, which account for 33% of greenhouse gas emissions, have yet to submit updated plans.

It claims that Australia and Indonesia have the same carbon reduction targets as they did in 2015, despite the fact that the Paris Agreement is supposed to include a “ratchet mechanism” of progressively deeper cuts.

Furthermore, the study finds that Brazil, Mexico, and Russia all expect their emissions to increase rather than decrease.

For the poorest countries, which are most vulnerable to rising sea levels and new extremes of heat and drought, a rapid reduction in the gases that are warming the planet is a top priority.

“G20 countries must take the lead in quickly cutting emissions to mitigate climate change,” said Sonam P Wangdi, chair of the Least Developed Countries group.

“These are the countries with the most capacity and responsibility, and it is long past time for them to step up and treat this crisis as such.”

China is expected to revise its climate plans ahead of the Glasgow conference.

It has previously stated that, as the world’s largest emitter, it intends to peak emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

An announcement of more ambitious targets soon would give the talks a significant boost, but there are no indications of when – or even if – this might happen.

Follow David on Twitter.

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