A new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report finds that the international community remains “far short” of the Paris climate change goals, with “no credible pathway” in place to limit expected global warming to no more than 1.5°C.
The Emissions Gap Report 2022: The Closing Window called for “urgent sector and system-wide transformations” in electricity supply, industry, transport and buildings sectors, as well as the food and financial systems.
Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP, said, “Only a root-and-branch transformation of our economies and societies can save us from accelerating climate disaster.”
The report finds that Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and some updates from nations over the last year remove around 0.5 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent, less than 1%, off projected global emissions in 2030.
It said that so-called unconditional NDCs are estimated to give a 66% chance of limiting global warming to about 2.6°C over the century. For conditional NDCs—namely, those that depend on external support–warming is reduced to 2.4°C. Current policies alone would lead to a 2.8°C hike, highlighting what the report said are the “temperature implications of the gap between promises and action.”
In what it said was a best-case scenario, the report said full implementation of unconditional NDCs and additional net-zero emissions commitments would deliver around a 1.8°C increase in temperature. It cautioned that this scenario “is not currently credible” based on the discrepancy between current emissions, short-term NDC targets and long-term net-zero targets.
In order to meet the Paris Agreement goals, the world needs to reduce greenhouse gases by “unprecedented levels” over the next eight years.
Unconditional and conditional NDCs are estimated to trim global emissions in 2030 by 5% and 10% respectively, compared with emissions based on policies currently in place.
To get on a least-cost pathway to hold global warming to 1.5°C, emissions must fall by another 45% above those forecast based on current policies by 2030. For the 2°C target, a 30% cut is needed.
Electric sector progress
The report finds that the move toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in electricity supply, industry, transportation and buildings is underway. It said that electricity supply is most advanced, as the costs of renewable electricity have fallen dramatically.
It said that all sectors need to avoid locking in new fossil fuel-intensive infrastructure. It called on nations to advance zero-carbon technology and apply it, and pursue behavioral changes.
The report said a global transformation to a low-emissions economy is expected to require investments of at least $4-6 trillion a year. It said that while this is a relatively small (1.5-2%) share of total financial assets managed, it is significant (20-28%) in terms of additional annual resources to be allocated.
It said that most financial actors have shown limited action on climate mitigation because of “short-term interests, conflicting objectives and not recognizing climate risks adequately.”
It called on governments and key financial actors to transform the financial system and its structures and processes. Among its recommendations for financial sector reform, the report called for action to create markets for low-carbon technology by shifting financial flows, stimulating innovation and helping to set standards.
This post appeared first on Power Engineering.