San Francisco Chronicle - (Sunday)
Emission pledges fall far short of targets, U.N. finds
The newest pledges by countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions are falling far short of what’s needed to limit global warming to the Paris climate accord goals, a new United Nations report finds.
The U.N.’s climate chief is telling nations to go back and try harder.
Most countries — especially top carbon polluters China, United States and India — missed the Dec. 31 deadline for submitting official emissioncutting targets for November’s climate negotiations in Scotland. Friday’s report provides an incomplete snapshot of the world’s efforts: The world’s pledges so far are only enough to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions to less than 1% below 2010 levels by 2030.
The world has to cut carbon pollution 45% below 2010 levels to achieve the more stringent official Paris goal of limiting future warming to another half a degree from now, U.N. officials said.
“We are very, very far from where we need to be,” U.N. climate chief Patricia Espinosa said. “What we need to put on the table is much more radical and much more transformative than we have been doing until now.”
U.N. SecretaryGeneral Antonio Guterres called the report “a red alert for our planet.”
U.N. officials applauded the more than 120 nations, including the U.S. and China, that have made longerterm goals of netzero carbon emissions by midcentury. But those same nations must translate longterm talk into the immediate action “that people and the planet so desperately need,” Guterres said.
Instead of limiting the world to only 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming since preindustrial times — the more stringent of two Paris accord goals — the data shows that world “is headed to close to 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and a global catastrophe if this is not curtailed quickly,” said Bill Hare, director of Climate Analytics, a private group that tracks countries’ emissions targets.
The 2015 Paris climate agreement had nations submit voluntary targets for how much heattrapping gases they would spew by 2025 and update them every five years.
With the big pandemicdelayed climate negotiations in Glasgow set for later this year, nations are to submit updated and tougher goals for 2030. The U.S. promises its goal will be announced before a special Earth Day summit in April.