World action to combat global warming inadequate, says UNEP

United Nations Environment Programme says countries must cut greenhouse gas emission by at least three-fold

Updated - November 26, 2019 02:29 pm IST

Published - November 26, 2019 02:22 pm IST - New Delhi

India is the third-largest emitter behind the United States and China respectively. | File

India is the third-largest emitter behind the United States and China respectively. | File

Ahead of the 25th edition of the Conference of Parties in Madrid in December , the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned that countries’ action to combat global warming was inadequate. On the whole, countries must cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least three-fold — ideally five-fold — to have a fighting chance at containing the severest effects of global warming.

“Unless global greenhouse gas emissions fall by 7.6% each year between 2020 and 2030, the world will miss the opportunity to get on track towards the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement,” says a press statement accompanying the UNEP report.

Every year, the UNEP assesses the gap between anticipated emissions in 2030 and levels consistent with the 1.5°C and 2°C targets of the Paris Agreement.

Also read: Greenhouse gases surge to record in 2018, exceeding 10-yr average rate: U.N.

The report finds that greenhouse gas emissions had risen 1.5% per year over the last decade and emissions in 2018, including from land-use changes such as deforestation, hit a new high of 55.3 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent. Global temperatures have already risen about 1°C since pre-industrial times and negotiations, such as those under way at the COP, are aimed at preventing temperatures from rising more than a half-or one degree. Current commitments by countries — all voluntary — will see temperatures rise by 3.2°C over pre-industrial levels.

“The summary findings are bleak. Countries collectively failed to stop the growth in global GHG emissions, meaning that deeper and faster cuts are now required,” says the report.

Also read: India to work with China, Pakistan to gauge impact of climate change

Fossil carbon-dioxide emissions from energy use and industry, which dominate total GHG emissions, grew 2.0% in 2018, reaching a record 37.5 GtCO2 per year. By 2030, emissions would need to be 25% and 55% lower than in 2018 to put the world on the least-cost pathway to limiting global warming to below 2˚C and 1.5°C respectively.

India is the third-largest emitter behind the United States and China respectively, though 28 developed countries of European Union, as a block, emit more than India. India’s per capita emissions, however, are significantly below the United States, China, Russia, Japan and many countries.

“India, Russia and Turkey are projected to be more than 15% lower than their NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) target emission levels. These results suggest that the three countries have room to raise their NDC ambition significantly,” the survey results note.

India has committed to ensuring that its non-fossil fuels constitute 40% of the total electricity generation capacity, the emission intensity of the economy reduces by 33 to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level, and increase forest and tree cover to create additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent.

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