Global emissions gap could still be 12 bln tonnes in 2030 - UN

by Reuters
Friday, 6 November 2015 08:30 GMT

A motor glider flies near the Belchatow coal mine, the biggest opencast mine of brown coal in Poland, outside Belchatow Power Station, Europe's largest coal-fired power plant, Oct. 31, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Image Caption and Rights Information
Current climate action plans not sufficient to limit global warming to 2C and head off worst impacts, UNEP says

By Nina Chestney

LONDON, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 could still be up to 12 billion tonnes more than the level needed to keep global warming within 2 degrees Celsius this century, a United Nations report estimated on Friday.

The sixth annual U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) report analysed the impact of countries' climate policies and emissions pledges ahead of a global climate deal to be signed in Paris next month and whether they are enough to limit global temperature increases to within 2 degrees C this century.

To stay within the 2 degree limit, global emissions levels should not exceed 42 billion tonnes in 2030.

However, even if all countries' conditional and unconditional plans for emission cuts are implemented fully, emissions could rise to 54 billion tonnes in 2030, leaving a gap of 12 billion tonnes, the report said.

"The current (pledges), combined with policies over the last few years, present a real increase in ambition levels and demonstrate an historic level of commitment and engagement by member states in tackling this major global challenge," UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said in a statement.

"However, they are not sufficient to limit global temperature rise to the recommended level of 2 degrees Celsius this century, and thus head off the worst impacts of climate change."

Last week, the United Nations said plans by around 150 countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions were not enough to limit a rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees, a threshold seen by scientists as avoiding the most devastating effects of climate change.

The plans, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), will be the building blocks for a U.N. deal expected at a summit set for Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 to fight global warming in the years from 2020.

Poorer nations, which might be the most vulnerable to climate change, have said negotiators should not abandon hope of limiting temperature rises to below 1.5 degrees even if targets on the table in Paris are less ambitious. (Editing by Dale Hudson)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.