World action to combat global warming inadequate, says UNEP

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News: UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has released its annual emissions gap report 2019.

Facts:

About UNEP Emission Gap Report

  • Emission gap is the difference between the emissions level countries have pledged to achieve under international agreements and the level consistent with limiting warming to well below 2 degrees C.
  • The Emissions Gap Report measures and projects three key trendlines: 

o   The amount of greenhouse gas emissions every year up to 2030

o   The commitments countries are making to reduce their emissions and the impact these commitments are likely to have on overall emission reduction

o   The pace at which emissions must be reduced to reach an emission low that would limit temperature increase to 1.5oC, affordably

  • The first emission gap report was released in 2011.

Key takeaways from Emission Gap Report 2019

  •  At the current pace, the world is heading for a 3.2°C temperature rise
  • Greenhouse gas emissions had risen 1.5% per year over the last decade
  •  Emissions in 2018 hit a new high of 55.3 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent. Fossil carbon-dioxide emissions from energy use and industry dominate total GHG emissions and it grew 2.0% in 2018.
  • To stay under 2°C, by the year 2030, emissions would need to be 25% lower than in 2018. For a 1.5°C-consistent pathway, the reduction needed is 55% below 2018 levels.
  • India is the third-largest emitter behind the United States and China respectively. However, India’s per capita emissions are significantly below the United States, China, Russia, Japan and many other countries.
  •  India, Russia and Turkey are projected to be more than 15% lower than their NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) target emission levels.

Additional Information

UNEP:

  • It is the leading environmental authority in the United Nations system. It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference) on 5th June 1972. It is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.
  •  It sets the global environmental agenda and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. It also assists developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices.

Nationally Determined Contributions

  • As a commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (2015), nations have to put forward national climate actions they intend to take to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. These are called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
  •  India’s INDCs include:

o   reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33% to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level,

o   increase total cumulative electricity generation from fossil free energy sources to 40% by 2030,

o   Create additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons through additional forest and tree cover.