UN Climate Stocktake: Efforts Are Falling Short

The UN released a draft “synthesis report” from its first mandated “global stocktake” (GST) of progress on the Paris climate agreement on Friday.

As expected, it says efforts are falling short of what is needed to meet climate goals — including limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

The report will serve as a reference document for upcoming climate negotiations, including the UN climate week in New York this month and the COP28 conference in Dubai later this year.

Its findings will likely spur calls for stronger action to rein in emissions, and will put governments under additional pressure to phase out fossil fuels — which the report suggests is necessary.

Key Findings

The report offers some hope, noting that the Paris Agreement has led to significantly reduced forecasts of future warming, compared to those made before the agreement was adopted in 2015.

Emissions have peaked in developed and some developing countries, it notes, but global emissions have not yet peaked.

The report says that efforts undertaken so far still fall short of what’s needed.

Based on current nationally determined contributions (NDCs), the report says the “emissions gap” relative to a world with 1.5°C of warming in 2030 is estimated at 20.3–23.9 gigatons of CO2 equivalent.

Those numbers indicate the extent to which currently enacted policies and actions fall short of reaching the Paris Agreement targets.

The report says this leaves a “rapidly narrowing window” to raise ambition and implement existing commitments to limit warming to 1.5°C.

“Now is the time to rapidly accelerate action,” to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions 43% by 2030 and 60% by 2035 (compared to 2019 levels) and reach net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 globally, the report stresses.

This will require transformations across all sectors, including boosting the use of renewable energy and reducing the combustion of fossil fuels, it added.

“Scaling up renewable energy and phasing out all unabated fossil fuels are indispensable elements of just energy transitions to net-zero emissions.”

Electrification, energy efficiency, demand-side management, and energy storage, are also important elements in net zero energy systems, the report said.

“Government and business leaders must respond to these findings and make it a priority to accelerate the coal-to-clean transition within the next seven years,” said Julia Skorupska, head of the Powering Past Coal Alliance.

“At the UN Climate Ambition Summit in September and at COP28 in December, they will have ample opportunities to ramp up ambition on coal phase-out.”

Climate Finance

The report also stresses the need to move quickly to mobilize more financial support for climate action in developing countries.

Although climate finance from developed to developing countries has increased since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, much more needs to be done, it says.

The Paris Agreement requires countries to submit NDCs every five years and the next ones are required to be prepared and communicated by 2025.

The report acknowledges that the global energy crisis makes ambitious climate action more difficult, but it also warns that the best available science has shown that the window of opportunity for taking action is closing rapidly.

“The first GST comes at a critical moment for accelerating collective progress. As this report shows, much more action is needed now, on all fronts and by all actors, if the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement are to be met,” it said.

Source : Energy Intelligence


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