Global warming could reach 2.6°C by the end of the century , given current commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
But the States do not comply with their acquired commitments and the current trajectory could generate an even greater warming of 2.8 ° C, according to a report by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
Both trajectories are well above the Paris Agreement goals of containing warming “well below” 2°C, and if possible keeping it at 1.5°C.
One day after the UN Climate Change office estimated that current commitments are “very far” from responding to the goals set in Paris, UNEP considered that progress in cutting emissions “unfortunately” has not been enough .
Greenhouse gas concentrations rose at an above-average pace to hit records last year, according to a report from the UN weather agency released Wednesday, warning that time is running out for necessary changes are made in order to stop the rise in global temperature.
The annual report of the World Meteorological Organization is the first to be
The increase in the atmospheric concentration of the three greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) exceeded the average increase of the last decade, which means that all of them have reached record levels.
Concentrations of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, increased by 2.5 parts per million to 415.7, a level not seen for at least 3 million years, when Earth was much warmer.
The rise in the potent heat-trapping gas methane was the highest since records began in 1983, according to the report. Methane is the second gas that contributes to warming after carbon dioxide.
“The continuing rise in concentrations of major heat-trapping gases, including a record acceleration in methane levels, shows that we are going in the wrong direction,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, calling for a transformation of energy, industry and transportation systems.
“The necessary changes are economically affordable and technically possible. Time is running out,” he said.
Greenhouse gases are responsible for warming the planet and triggering extreme weather events such as heat waves and heavy rains.
Unlike emissions that can be reduced, such as by curtailing travel and industry during the pandemic, much of the carbon dioxide emitted decades ago remains in the atmosphere and triggers slow processes like sea level rise during the pandemic. millennia.
In 2020, global emissions fell by 7%, in line with the estimated level that can keep global warming to 1.5 °C, due to the covid-19 crisis paralyzing much of world activity.
But the spike in 2021 could make that year a record for emissions, UNEP said.
“There is a total rebound after covid. This is a failure in terms of using unprecedented financing to accelerate the green transition, it is a failure,” Anne Olhoff, the main author of the report, told AFP.
A “woefully insufficient” response
Last year at the COP26 in Glasgow, the countries signed a “pact” to urge them to strengthen their contributions at the national level every year. But the response has been “regrettably insufficient,” said the report, which recounts that only 24 countries complied.
“We are heading towards a global catastrophe,” warned UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, criticizing the lack of concrete action to fight climate change.
“Carbon neutrality commitments are worthless without plans, policies and actions to back them up,” he said in a video message.
The world “cannot afford more greenwashing,” he insisted.
According to the UNEP report, the latest commitments made by countries, called “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs), will reduce emissions by 5% by 2030 relative to the current trajectory for pacts made without conditions and in a 10% for those carried out with financing conditions or external actions.
This in terms of warming implies that unconditional contributions “give a 66% chance of limiting warming to about 2.6°C by the end of the century.”
Considering the commitments that have conditions, the result is slightly better, but it leads to a rise of 2.4 °C, which is still well above the Paris targets.
If the “carbon neutrality” commitments that several countries recently multiplied are taken into account, the rise could be contained even at 1.8 ºC.
But this view is “not currently credible,” experts in the report noted, pointing to “gaps” between promises and results.
With information from AFP and Reuters