Energy & Environment

UN says climate plans fall short of Paris Agreement goals

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The United Nations is saying that countries’ climate plans are expected to fall short of the goals of the Paris Agreement — which sought to limit the Earth’s warming.

Under that agreement, countries said they would try to prevent more than 2 degrees Celsius of global warming when compared to pre-industrial times, in order to evade the worst impacts of climate change. 

It also outlined a further goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. 

But a new report from the U.N. today says that countries’ proposed plans for emissions cuts would put the world on track for 2.7 degrees of warming by the end of the century. 

Specifically, it found that countries’ 2030 emissions pledges would only reduce projected emissions by 7.5 percent, while 30 percent is needed to be on track for limiting warming to 2 degrees and 55 percent is needed to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. 

However, the report was more optimistic about longer-term goals, as an increasing number of countries are pledging to reach net-zero emissions by around the middle of the century. 

It said that such commitments could limit warming to about 2.2 degrees by the year 2100.

“Climate change is no longer a future problem. It is a now problem,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, in a statement. 

“To stand a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, we have eight years to almost halve greenhouse gas emissions: eight years to make the plans, put in place the policies, implement them and ultimately deliver the cuts. The clock is ticking loudly,” Andersen added. 

Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres attributed the issue to what he described as a “leadership gap” on climate. 

“The emissions gap is the result of a leadership gap, but leaders can still make this a turning point … instead of a tipping point to climate catastrophe.”
 
“The time for closing this leadership gap must begin in Glasgow,” he added, referring to a global climate conference starting Sunday in the Scottish city. 

Ahead of the conference, many countries put out climate plans called nationally determined contributions stating how far they’ll seek to go to cut emissions by 2030. 

The Biden administration pledged that the U.S. will cut its emissions by 50 to 52 percent by that year compared to 2005 levels.

This story was updated at 12:09 p.m.

Tags Climate change Global warming net-zero carbon emissions paris deal
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