The official climate plans submitted by 195 countries to the United Nations are still insufficient to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees. According to the United Nations, “small steps” are being taken, but big steps are needed.
With current plans, carbon dioxide emissions in 2030 will be 8.8 percent higher than in 2010, according to a report published by the UN climate agency on Tuesday. This is a slightly better result than what was reported last year: when the increase was estimated at 10.6 percent. Meanwhile, twenty countries have submitted new climate plans to the United Nations.
“This report shows that governments are taking small steps together to avoid the climate crisis,” said Simon Steele, UN climate official. But that’s not enough: at the climate summit starting later this month in Dubai, he says countries must promise “bold steps forward.”
The summit this year is about the so-called Global inventory, a five-year inventory of progress towards global climate goals. The Paris Agreement agreed to limit temperature rises to less than 2 degrees, preferably 1.5 degrees, by 2100.
All countries must submit an update on their climate plans to the United Nations by 2025 at the latest. Agreements must be concluded in Dubai to ensure that these plans become ambitious, according to Steele.
Emissions loom, but are unlikely to decline
To maintain the 1.5 degree target, global greenhouse gas emissions must fall by 43 percent between 2019 and 2030, according to the latest calculations by the UN Climate Panel (IPCC). The new UN report expects a decline of only 2 percent during that period. This means that carbon dioxide emissions are likely to peak this decade. But so far there has been no sharp decline after that peak.
Therefore, the Dubai climate summit should be a “historic turning point” for climate, says summit chair Sultan Al Jaber. He is also the director of the UAE’s state oil company, a fact that has led to a lot of criticism. According to many environmental groups, the climate summit under his leadership lacks credibility.
The use of fossil fuels will certainly become an important item on the climate summit agenda. The European Union and some other countries want the summit to agree to phase out the use of all types of fossil fuels. But for many countries, this remains elusive.
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