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UN Emissions Gap Report

Published on 3 November, the UN Emissions Gap 2016 report states that global action on climate change must be urgently increased, so that a further 25% can be cut from predicted 2030 emissions.

Made public the day before the Paris Agreement came into force, the report finds that 2030 emissions are expected to reach 54 to 56 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent – far above the level of 42 needed to have a chance of limiting global warming to 2oC this century.

The report’s authors found that predicted 2030 emissions will, even if the Paris pledges are fully implemented, place the world on track for a temperature rise of 2.9 to 3.4 degrees this century. Waiting to increase ambition would likely lose the chance to meet the 1.5 oC target, increase carbon-intensive technology lock-in and raise the cost of a global transition to low emissions.

The need for urgent action has been reinforced by the fact that 2015 was the hottest year since modern record keeping began. The trend is continuing, with the first six months of 2016 all being the warmest ever recorded.

However, the Gap report presents an assessment of the technologies and opportunities to find the further cuts required, including through non-state actors, energy efficiency acceleration and crossover with the sustainable development goals.

Non-state actors (the private sector, cities, regions and other subnational actors like citizen groups) can cut several gigatonnes off the gap by 2030 in areas such as agriculture and transport, provided the many initiatives meet their goals and do not replace other action. Energy efficiency and renewable energy are other areas where investment could bring bigger gains.

09 November 2016

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