UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2019
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report is out. It provides the latest assessment of scientific studies on current and estimated future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and compares these with the emission levels permissible forthe world to progress on a least-cost pathway to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. This difference between “where we are likely to be and where we need to be” has become known as the ‘emissions gap’.
Reflecting on the ten-year anniversary, a summary report, entitled Lessons from a decade of emissions gap assessments, was published in September for the SecretaryGeneral’s Climate Action Summit. 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. However, behind the grim headlines, a more differentiated message emerges from the ten-year summary. A number of encouraging developments have taken place and the political focus on the climate crisis is growing in several countries, with voters and protestors, particularly youth, making it clear that it is their number one issue. In addition, the technologies for rapid and cost-effective emission reductions have improved significantly.
As in previous years, this report explores some of the most promising and applicable options available for countries to bridge the gap, with a focus on how to create
transformational change and just transitions. Reflecting on the report’s overall conclusions, it is evident that incremental changes will not be enough and there is a need for rapid and transformational action.
Some conclusions from Executive Sumamr of the Report:
-GHG emissions have risen at a rate of 1.5 per cent per year in the last decade, stabilizing only briefly between 2014 and 2016. Total GHG emissions, including from land-use change, reached a record high of 55.3 GtCO2e in 2018.
-Fossil CO2 emissions from energy use and industry, which dominate total GHG emissions, grew 2.0 per cent in 2018, reaching a record 37.5 GtCO2 per year.
-There is no sign of GHG emissions peaking in the next few years; every year of postponed peaking means that deeper and faster cuts will be required. By 2030, emissions would need to be 25 per cent and 55 per cent 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.
Pease find report here.