Global warming gases like CO2 are increasing and the “emissions gap” between climate change and policies is widening, warns the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).
Actions on climate change need to be radically scaled-up and accelerated if temperature rises are to be kept to 2°C, according to the latest report from the organisation.
To keep global average temperature rises to 2°C, emissions need to drop from the current level of 49 Gt of CO2 equivalent to 44 GT by 2020.
But unless more decisive action is taken quickly, the emissions gap – between actual and required emissions – is likely to be 8 Gt of CO2 equivalent by 2020, up by 2 Gt on last year’s estimate.
With current policies and level of action, temperature rises are likely to top 3-5°C by the end of the century.
But while the report’s conclusions are sobering, there is still an opportunity to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
“There are two realities encapsulated in this report,” says UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP executive director, Achim Steiner, “that bridging the gap remains do-able with existing technologies and policies; that there are many inspiring actions taking place at the national level on energy efficiency in buildings, investing in forests to avoid emissions linked with deforestation and new vehicle emissions standards alongside a remarkable growth in investment in new renewable energies worldwide.”
According to the report, cuts of some 17 Gt of CO2 equivalent are still possible through improved building efficiency, tighter fuel standards, including regulation of shipping and aviation, and in the power generation sector.
The UNEP’s exhortation to the global community to step up its action on renewables and carbon cutting policies comes ahead of the climate change summit in Doha, Qatar later this month.
“While governments work to negotiate a new international climate agreement to come into effect in 2020, they urgently need to put their foot firmly on the action pedal,” adds Steiner.
For further information:
Business backs carbon pricing ahead of UN Doha meeting (19-Nov)
Without action global warming will hit 4°C, warns World Bank (19-Nov)
Fossil fuels continue to dominate global energy use, warns IEA (13-Nov)
Current emission reduction rates point to 6°C warming, warn PwC (5-Nov)
Article source: http://www.energyefficiencynews.com/i/5568/