Current international emissions targets will fall short of climate accord goals: report

Current international emissions targets will fall short of climate accord goals: report
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Plans submitted by nearly 200 countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would still fall short of the Paris climate accord target of limiting warming to 2 degrees, according to a United Nations report released Friday.

The planet would see a 2.7-degree increase in temperature by the end of the 21st century based on the targets submitted by the 191 parties to the compact, according to the report.

Not all news in the U.N.’s assessment was bad. The body determined that recent, more ambitious updates to 86 countries' and the European Union’s goals would result in a 12 percent decrease in their emissions by 2030 compared to 2010. Moreover, 70 of those countries outlined goals of net-zero emissions by the middle of the century.


“I congratulate all Parties that have submitted updated or new NDCs [nationally determined contributions],” Executive Secretary of U.N. Climate Change Patricia Espinosa said in a statement. “The synthesis shows that countries are making progress towards the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals. This means that the in-built mechanism set up by the Paris Agreement to allow for a gradual increase of ambition is working.”

However, the report also projected that current plans would result in 16 percent more emissions in 2030 compared to 2010 among all parties to the agreement.

“The 16% increase is a huge cause of concern. It is in sharp contrast with the calls by science for rapid, sustained and large-scale emission reductions to prevent the most severe climate consequences and suffering, especially of the most vulnerable, throughout the world,” Espinosa said.

The assessment comes the month after the U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Change warned that drastic action was needed to reduce emissions enough to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, many of the world’s top emitters, including China and India, have yet to commit to a reduction goal by 2030, even as the U.S. has set a target of reducing emissions by half.

The report comes ahead of the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26), set to begin in Glasgow in November. President BidenJoe BidenManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE and European Union leaders earlier Friday announced a goal of reducing global methane emissions 30 percent, but it remains unclear how much of that either the U.S. or Europe would be responsible for.

“I make an explicit call especially to the major emitters to deliver their commitments so that together we can prevent the temperature from rising more than 1.5,” Carolina Schmidt, who served as president of last year’s conference, said in a statement. “The IPCC report shows us that we can achieve it, but only if we are all working decisively in the same direction.”