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first story  UNEP ON THE GROUND
UNEP Emissions Gap report shows potential for scaling-up climate action

Greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans will be limited by 2030 thanks to new and existing engagements made by nations, show findings from a major UNEP report.


The COP climate talks kicking off later this month can meanwhile encourage further action to stave off the worst effects of climate change, shows the Emissions Gap study, whose Executive Summary launch took place in Geneva on 6 November.


“2030 is just the first stop,” said UNEP Chief Scientist Jacqueline McGlade, stressing that the world needs to be in zero net emissions – whereby any remaining ones are offset - by the second half of the century.


The report takes into account national carbon reduction pledges, or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), presented by 146 countries to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change up until October, covering the lion’s share of world emissions.


Were the pledges to be met, the world would reduce carbon emissions by up to 11 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030.


The plans represent “a real increase in ambition levels and demonstrate an unprecedented commitment and engagement by member states,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner at the launch.


Yet the study finds that a further carbon reduction of 12 GtCO2e is required by 2030 in order to meet the internationally-agreed goal of limiting the global temperature rise compared to pre-industrial times to two degrees centigrade.


Options for closing this ‘emissions gap’ are presented in the report, such as measures to promote energy efficiency for buildings, transport and industry. Other key sectors focused on include agriculture, forestry, waste and renewables. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group for example includes 75 cities taking steps to reduce emissions.


INDCs furthermore “fulfil some of the necessary conditions to support the Sustainable Development Goals,” stressed Ms McGlade at the launch, noting that this will speed-up national moves towards becoming low-carbon economies.


To read an executive summary of the Emissions Gap report please click here.
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