Emission cuts needed to meet climate goals
The world is nowhere near on track to achieve the ambitious temperature goals adopted in the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change, the U.N. said Thursday in a sobering report that warned of a human tragedy unless governments stepped up efforts to fight global warming.
The U.N. Environment Program said the world needs to slash its annual greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 12 billion-14 billion metric tons by 2030 to have a chance of limiting global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
That’s the temperature goal that countries agreed to in the Paris pact, which takes effect today after countries ratified it much faster than anticipated.
To put the challenge into perspective, UNEP noted that the gap is 12 times the annual emissions of the 28-nation European Union’s transport sector, including aviation.
“The science shows that we need to move much faster,” said UNEP leader Erik Solheim. “The growing numbers of climate refugees hit by hunger, poverty, illness and conflict will be a constant reminder of our failure to deliver.”
Solheim said increased efforts by governments need to start with the U.N. climate conference being held over the coming two weeks in Marrakech, Morocco.
The 2-degree target is relative to before the industrial revolution, when scientists say humans started altering the climate system by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, primarily carbon dioxide from fossil fuels. Temperatures have already gone up by about 1 degree Celsius since then.