UNEP says carbon resilient future at stake amid rising emissions

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The quest for a carbon resilient, green and inclusive future is facing new headwinds amid failure by many countries to meet their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said in a new report released on Tuesday.

According to the UNEP’s Emission Gap report 2021, now in its 12th edition, the pledges that countries have made to lower carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement are not sufficient to ward off temperature rise.

“There is a fifty-fifty chance that global warming will exceed 1.5 degrees centigrade in the next two decades and unless there is an immediate, rapid and large-scale reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade or even 2 degrees centigrade by the end of the century will be beyond reach,” says the report.

Launched ahead of the global climate summit slated for October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow, Scotland, the report notes the current individual countries’ pledges will only cut emissions by 7.5 percent by 2030.

The report says that a 55 percent emissions reduction is required to meet the Paris goal of maintaining global temperatures below 1.5 degrees centigrade, adding that going by the latest pledges, the world could be heading to a temperature rise of 2.7 degree centigrade in this century.

But the report stresses that robust net-zero commitments made by some countries if fully implemented could lower temperature rise by 0.5 degrees centigrade, avert frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

It reveals that carbon emissions dropped by 5.4 percent in 2020 amid reduced economic activities linked to COVID-19 pandemic but warned of a rebound in 2021.

“Preliminary estimates suggest fossil energy carbon emissions could grow by 4.8 percent in 2021 (excluding cement) and global emissions in 2021 are expected to be only slightly lower than the record level of 2019,” says the report.

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