Countries’ current pledges to limit climate change would still put the world on a path to warm by nearly 3 degrees Celsius this century, showed an analysis by the United Nations released on Monday.
The annual Emissions Gap Report was released ahead of a crucial climate summit that begins next week in Dubai. It found that the world faces between 2.5 degrees Celsius and 2.9 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels if governments do not take more aggressive climate action.
The report said that the daily global average temperatures exceeded 1.5 degrees Celsius above mid-19th century levels on 86 days this year until October. “September was the hottest recorded month ever, with global average temperatures 1.8°C above pre-industrial levels,” it added.
On Friday, global average temperature was more than 2 degrees Celsius hotter than pre-industrial levels for the first time on record, European Union’s Copernicus Climate Service said.
To get on track for keeping warming to the 1.5-degree Celsius target adopted by the 2015 Paris climate agreement, countries have to slash their emissions by 42% by the end of the decade, the United Nations report said.
But “none of the G20 members are currently reducing emissions at a pace consistent with meeting their net-zero targets”, the report added.
The G20, comprising the world’s 19 largest economies and the European Union, are collectively responsible for 76% of global emissions.
In terms of per capita emissions, the G20 countries, which include India, average 7.9 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, whereas small island developing countries average 4.2 tons and least developed countries average 2.2 tons.
The G20 nations, according to the report, are projected to fall short of their new and updated pledges under the Paris agreement by 1.2 gigatons of CO2 equivalent annually by 2030.
“There is no person or economy left on the planet untouched by climate change, so we need to stop setting unwanted records on greenhouse gas emissions, global temperature highs and extreme weather,” said Inger Andersen, the executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme. “We must instead lift the needle out of the same old groove of insufficient ambition and not enough action, and start setting other records: on cutting emissions, on green and just transitions and on climate finance.”
The secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres, reiterated his call for countries to phase out the use of fossil fuels. He said that the emissions gap “is more like an emissions canyon – a canyon littered with broken promises, broken lives and broken records”.
This comes after he has repeatedly warned that humanity is on a “highway to climate hell” if action is not taken against global warming.