The greenhouse gas cuts proposed by some of the world’s biggest economies won’t be enough to stop global temperatures from rising beyond the important 2-degree Celsius threshold, the International Energy Agency said Monday.
Scientists have warned that temperature increases should be limited to 2 degrees over pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst of global warming, a goal the United Nations will pursue at a climate conference later this year.
Under the UN plan, nations will propose greenhouse gas emission targets and strategies for reaching those goals.
But in a report released Monday, IEA said the plans introduced so far, taken together with climate policies in other countries, would result in a temperature increase of 2.6 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
“If stronger action is not forthcoming after 2030, the path … would be consistent with an average temperature increase of around 2.6 degrees by 2100 and 3.5 degrees after 2200,” the report said.
The United States has proposed cutting emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2030, relative to 2005 levels. The European Union has said it could reduce emissions by 40 percent over 1990 levels by then, and China says it could see its emissions peak by that year.
NEI suggested nations pursue a more aggressive strategy to reduce emissions including increasing energy efficiency, moving away from coal-fired power plants and investing in renewable energy instead of fossil fuel subsidies.
“For countries that have submitted their [emission plans], the proposed strategy identifies possible areas for over-achievement,” IEA wrote. “For those that have yet to make a submission, it sets out a pragmatic baseline for ambition.”