Energy & Environment

UN warns of closing window to avert planetary warming, calls for ‘unprecedented’ action

FILE – The Utah State Capitol, rear, is shown behind an oil refinery on Thursday, May 12, 2022, in Salt Lake City. President Joe Biden is promising “strong executive action” to combat climate change, despite dual setbacks that have restricted his ability to regulate carbon emissions and boost clean energy such as wind and solar power. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

In a new report, the United Nations’s Environment Program described recent progress on tackling climate change as “woefully insufficient” and called for unprecedented changes to mitigate planetary warming. 

The emissions report, which was titled “The Closing Window,” said countries’ stated ambitions and policies to meet those ambitions were not enough to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. 

“Current policies and [nationally determined contributions] NDCs are woefully insufficient to meet the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement,” the report states, referring to each country’s climate commitments. 

The report says that in order to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius or 1.5 degrees Celsius, global emissions need to be reduced by 30 and 45 percent respectively. Currently, the plans put forward by each country would only cut global emissions by 5 to 10 percent. 

It also says that many Group of 20 nations — a group of world powers like the U.S., China, India and Russia, which are also responsible for a great deal of its emissions — will not meet the climate goals they have set. 

“Collectively, the G20 members are not on track to achieve their new or updated NDCs. Based on current policies scenario projections in independent studies, there is an implementation gap, defined as the difference between projected emissions under current policies and projected emissions under full implementation of the NDCs,” the report said. 

A press release announcing the report calls for “unprecedented” action.

“To meet the Paris Agreement goals, the world needs to reduce greenhouse gases by unprecedented levels over the next eight years,” the press release said.

Surpassing the warming thresholds is expected to subject people around the world to worse climate impacts like more heat waves, more intense storms, sea level rise and food insecurity. 

The new report comes on the heels of a separate UN report, which similarly found that current climate ambitions were not enough to keep warming under 2 degrees Celsius.

Tags China Climate change emissions report India Russia The Closing Window The Paris Agreement United Nations United States
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