Canada set to miss CO2 emissions target, UN says
A new report from the United Nations Environment Program says global efforts to fight climate change are not enough to meet targets set out under the Paris Agreement, and singles out Canada as one of the G20 countries on track to miss its emissions goals for 2020 and 2030.
The ninth annual UN “Emissions Gap” report echoes last month’s from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which issued its own report that called for urgent, never-before-seen action if the world is to restrict global warming to just1.5 degrees above preindustrial temperatures by the end of the century. The new report focuses on the gap between where emissions are headed and where they need to be to prevent the worst consequences of climate change, according to scientific evidence gathered by researchers around the world. It concludes this gap has “increased signif- icantly” compared with recent estimates, and states that “unprecedented and urgent action is required by all nations” before 2030 if the goal is to be met.
Taking aim at actions taken by G20 countries, the report notes industrial carbon dioxide emissions edged up in 2017 after remaining stable for three years. Total global greenhouse gas emissions also hit a record high in 2017, the report says.
“Even if the nations of the world live up to their current commitments, that will likely result in global warming of around 3 C by the end of the century,” wrote Joyce Msuya, acting executive director of the UN environment program, in the introduction to the report.
“That’s a number that would be catastrophic — and fatal for many small island states and coastal areas.”
But the report shows several of the world’s richest countries are on track to miss even their current targets, which are deemed to be inadequate. Canada, which represented 1.6 per cent of global emissions in 2017, is one of six G20 countries that — short of enduring a “low growth economic scenario” — will likely miss its 2020 target of reducing emissions to 17 per cent below the 2005 level, the report says.
And despite recent analyses that emissions over the coming 12 years could drop more than previously projected, the report concludes Canada’s current policies aren’t enough to meet its subsequent target of reducing emissions to 30 per cent below the 2005 level by 2030.
Robert O’Brien, a political science professor at McMaster University, said the report adds to existing evidence that more needs to be done to meet the targets under the Paris Agreement. At a time when Canadian politics features a debate over the Liberal government’s plan to impose carbon pricing against provincial resistance in Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, O’Brien said this report should get Canadians’ attention.
The annual UN “Emissions Gap” report said carbon dioxide emissions rose in 2017.