ENVIRONMENT – The commitments made by the signatory states of the Paris Agreement are leading the world to a “catastrophic” warming of + 2.7 ° C, far from the target of 1.5 ° C hoped to limit its destructive fallout , the UN alarmed this Friday, September 17, six weeks before COP26.
The report assessing the national commitments of 191 countries, released on Friday, “shows that the world is on a catastrophic path towards + 2.7 ° C of warming,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The Paris Agreement aims to limit this warming to well below + 2 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era, if possible +1.5 ° C.
But “failure to meet this goal will be measured by the number of deaths and livelihoods destroyed,” insisted Antonio Guterres, calling on all governments to come up with more ambitious commitments.
Under the Paris Agreement, each country was to revise its “Nationally Determined Contribution” (NDC) by the end of 2020.
But as of July 30, only 113 countries representing less than half of global greenhouse gas emissions (49%) had actually submitted their revised commitments. With these new promises, the emissions of this group of 113 countries, including the United States and the EU, would be reduced by 12% in 2030 compared to 2010. A “ray of hope” which does not however overshadow the “dark” side of this picture, noted the UN climate manager, Patricia Espinosa.
The numbers are “going in the wrong direction”
“Overall, the greenhouse gas emissions figures are heading in the wrong direction,” she lamented.
Taking into account all the NDCs – revised or not – of the 191 countries, emissions should increase by 16% in 2030 compared to 2010, while they should be reduced by 40% by 2030 to remain below 1 , 5 ° C or 25% for 2 ° C.
A “considerable” increase which “could lead to an increase in temperature of around 2.7 ° C by the end of the century” while each additional fraction of a degree multiplies the dramatic consequences.
In August, the latest report by scientists from the IPCC already warned against the risk of reaching the threshold of 1.5 ° C around 2030, ten years earlier than estimated, threatening humanity with unprecedented disasters.
In this context, “COP26 must be a success”, insisted Patricia Espinosa. She called on states to negotiate by being “driven not only by the legitimate desire to protect their national interest, but also by the objective of contributing to the well-being of humanity”. While a final assessment will be carried out by the end of October, she also hopes for new commitments.
“We must act, all of us, we must act now,” said US President Joe Biden at the start of a virtual summit with nine foreign leaders. “For those who haven’t, time is running out,” he added, calling for “greater” ambition.
Attention is particularly focused on China, responsible for more than a quarter of global CO2 emissions. President Xi Jinping announced a year ago to aim for carbon neutrality by 2060 and a peak in emissions “around 2030”, but without revising his NDC.
Beyond China, the entire G20 is in the crosshairs of climate advocates.
“It is high time they were up to it and treat this crisis as a crisis,” commented Least Developed Countries group president Sonam P. Wangdi. “These countries caused this crisis and despite everything fail to show the necessary leadership to get us out of this mess,” added Mohamed Adow, of the Power Shift Africa think-tank.
The question of the responsibility of large economies in terms of climate is one of the recurring tensions on the diplomatic scene, as is the question of financial aid.
The countries of the North pledged in 2009 to increase climate assistance to the countries of the South to 100 billion dollars per year by 2020. According to OECD figures released on Friday, this aid reached in 2019 only 79.6 billion.
A situation that worries Antonio Guterres. “The fight against climate change will only be a success if everyone unites for more ambition, cooperation, credibility,” he said. “It is time for leaders to take a stand and keep their promises, or people in all countries will pay the price.”
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