New emissions pledges barely affect global heating: UN

By: AFP      Published: 06:32 PM, 9 Nov, 2021
COP 26 climate summit
New emissions pledges barely affect global heating: UN

New national emissions-cutting pledges -- including a vow last week by India to be carbon neutral by 2070 -- are likely to have a minimal effect on temperature rises this century, an updated UN assessment said Tuesday. 

In its annual Emissions Gap report last month, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) had said current decarbonisation plans -- known as nationally determined contributions, or NDCs -- put the world on track to warm 2.7C this century. 

It warned that countries needed to slash emissions more than seven times faster to keep warming in line with 1.5C, the most ambitious Paris Agreement temperature goal. 

In an updated assessment, UNEP said Tuesday that, even when new pledges were factored in, the effect on the climate is predicted to be "very similar" to existing net-zero plans. 

This is due to due to "limited changes to 2030 emissions," UNEP said.

Current plans and net-zero promises would likely save 500 million tonnes of carbon pollution by 2030.  

But it said that, taken together, all current national emissions-reduction plans would still see warming of 2.7C by 2100. 

Factoring net-zero action such as carbon offsets and reforestation alongside decarbonisation efforts could see that fall to 2.1C -- down slightly from last month's assessment but still missing the Paris goal of "well below" 2C of warming.

UN Climate Change said last week that countries' renewed NDCs -- updated every five years under the Paris agreement -- would see emissions climb 13.7 percent by 2030 before sharply declining thereafter. 

To keep in line with 1.5C, those emissions must instead fall 45 percent by then. 

Some major emitters such as the United States and European Union have relatively comprehensive, costed plans on how they plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Other large polluters, notably China, have indicated net-zero targets but have yet to publish details on how they plan to achieve this.

"Given the lack of transparency of net-zero pledges, the absence of a reporting and verification system, and the fact that few 2030 pledges put countries on a clear path to net zero emissions, it remains uncertain if net zero pledges will be achievable," UNEP said. 

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.