Emissions Gap report warns of urgent need for climate change action
Action to tackle climate change needs to be urgently scaled up if the world is to have any chance of keeping a global temperature rise below 2 degrees C this century, according to UN Environment Programme (UNEP) research.
The Emissions Gap Report, coordinated by UNEP and the European Climate Foundation, and released days before the convening of the Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Doha, shows that greenhouse gas emissions levels are now around 14 per cent above where they need to be in 2020.
Instead of declining, concentration of warming gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) are actually increasing in the atmosphere-up around 20 per cent since 2000.
If no swift action is taken by nations, emissions are likely to be at 58 gigatonnes (Gt) in eight years' time, says the report which has involved 55 scientists from more than 20 countries.
This will leave a gap that is now bigger than it was in earlier UNEP assessments of 2010 and 2011 and is in part as a result of projected economic growth in key developing economies and a phenomenon known as 'double counting' of emission offsets.
Previous assessment reports have underlined that emissions need to be on average at around 44 Gt or less in 2020 to lay the path for the even bigger reductions needed at a cost that is manageable.
The Emissions Gap Report 2012 points out that even if the most ambitious level of pledges and commitments were implemented by all countries-and under the strictest set of rules-there will now be a gap of 8 Gt of CO2 equivalent by 2020.
This is 2 Gt higher than last year's assessment with yet another year passing by.
Preliminary economic assessments, highlighted in the new report, estimate that inaction will trigger costs likely to be at least 10 to 15 per cent higher after 2020 if the needed emission reductions are delayed into the following decades.
Industrial smoke image via Shutterstock.
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