World on ‘catastrophic’ path to 2.7C warming: UN chief

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Steam and exhaust rise from different companies on a cold winter day on January 6, 2017 in Oberhausen, Germany. According to a report released by the European Copernicus Climate Change Service, 2016 is likely to have been the hottest year since global temperatures were recorded in the 19th century. According to the report the average global surface temperature was 14.8 degrees Celsius, which is 1.3 degrees higher than estimates for before the Industrial Revolution. Greenhouse gases are among the chief causes of global warming and climates change. /Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

A failure to slash global emissions is setting the world on a “catastrophic” path to 2.7 degrees Celsius heating, UN chief Antonio Guterres warned Friday just weeks before crunch climate talks.

Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations. /VCG

His comments come as a United Nations report on global emissions pledges found that instead of the reductions needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change, they would see “a considerable increase”.

This shows “the world is on a catastrophic pathway to 2.7-degrees of heating,” Guterres said in a statement.

The figure would shatter the temperature targets of the Paris climate agreement, which aimed for warming well below 2C and preferably capped at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

“Failure to meet this goal will be measured in the massive loss of lives and livelihoods,” Guterres said.

Under the landmark 2015 Paris deal, nations committed to slash emissions, as well as to provide assistance to the most climate-vulnerable countries.

But a bombshell “code red” for humanity from the world’s pre-eminent body on global warming in August warned that Earth’s average temperature will be 1.5C higher around 2030, a decade earlier than projected only three years ago.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that emissions should be around 45 percent lower by 2030 compared with 2010 levels to meet the 1.5C goal.

The UN said on Friday that current pledges by 191 countries would see emissions 16 percent higher at end of the decade than in 2010 — a level that would eventually cause the world to warm 2.7C.

“Overall greenhouse gas emission numbers are moving in the wrong direction,” said UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa in a press conference.

But she said there was a “glimmer of hope” from 113 countries that had updated their pledges, including the United States and European Union.

These new pledges, known as Nationally Determined Contributions, would see their emissions reduced 12 percent by 2030 compared to 2010.

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