Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The latest United Nations emissions gap report criticises pretty much everyone for not imposing harsh enough CO2 emission abatement plans.
UN warns of ‘unacceptable’ greenhouse gas emissions gap
Report reveals large gap between government pledges and the reductions needed to prevent dangerous global warming.
There is still a large gap between the pledges by governments to cut greenhouse gas emissions and the reductions scientists say are needed to avoid dangerous levels of climate change, the UN has said.
Current plans from national governments, and pledges made by private sector companies and local authorities across the world, would lead to temperature rises of as much as 3C or more by the end of this century, far outstripping the goal set under the 2015 Paris agreement to hold warming to 2C or less, which scientists say is the limit of safety.
The UN’s findings come in its latest assessment of progress on climate change, published on Tuesday ahead of the COP23 conference, a follow-up to the Paris agreement, to be held in Bonn next week.
There was some good news, however: the report found that carbon dioxide emissions had held steady globally since 2014. Against that, emissions of other greenhouse gases, notably methane, had increased.
The “emissions gap” uncovered by the UN does not include the consequences of a US withdrawal from the Paris agreement. If the US president, Donald Trump, presses ahead with plans announced this summer to take the US out of the agreement, the picture would become “even bleaker”, the report found. The US is the world’s second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China.
The full report is available here
The report tiptoes around Asia’s booming contribution to CO2 emissions;
… Asia’s role in emissions of black carbon and methane is ever-increasing, while North America and Europe (including Russia) combined represented nearly one third of global methane emissions in 2010, primarily via emissions from the oil and gas sector. Although sectoral structures of emissions vary greatly across pollutants, a few sectors tend to dominate. For black carbon, residential combus on (cooking and hea ng in solid fuel stoves) has been a key source of emissions, with transport and industry gaining importance in recent years (Hoesly et al., 2017). …
Read more here.
The report authors are far more direct about criticising President Trump;
… The INDC communicated by the United States of America in 2015 indicated an intent to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 26 and 28 percent below 2005 levels in 2025, which translates to 4.6-4.8 GtCO2e/year (national estimate, in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) Global Warming Potential terms). In June 2017, President Donald Trump announced that the United States of America intended to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and would cease implementation of the NDC. The United States of America subsequently communicated its intent to the United Na ons Secretary-General (The Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, 2017). The earliest that United States of America withdrawal can take e ect is in 2020, four years a er the Paris Agreement entered into force. Seven studies to date estimate that 2025 emissions under the new Administration’s policies will range from 5.7-6.8 GtCO2e/year, in contrast to 5.0-6.6 GtCO2e/year under the previous Administration’s policies (Chai et al., 2017; Climate Action Tracker, 2017a; Climate Advisers, 2017; ClimateInteractive, 2017; Hafstead, 2017; Rhodium Group, 2017a, b). The impact of current and upcoming action by subnational and non-state actors may also be significant (Kuramochi et al., 2017). …
Read more here (same link as above).
In my opinion this report hi-lights rampant gross international hypocrisy when it comes to climate action. Despite big shows of global unity and lots of green rhetoric aimed against President Trump over his Paris decision, the reality is nobody is making a serious effort to reduce CO2 emissions.