In the eight years since the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, the world’s nations have not done enough to cut pollution and avert catastrophic levels of warming, according to the first United Nations scorecard since Paris, released on Friday.
As the world’s nations gather for COP28 in Dubai in late November to measure how much progress has been made on bringing down global emissions since Paris, Friday’s assessment by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change shows the world is still seriously off-track.
One of the key facets of COP28 will be what’s known as a “global stocktake,” measuring how quickly the world’s nations are meeting the emissions goals set out in Paris, to help bring down the temperature of a rapidly warming globe.
The report warns there “is a rapidly narrowing window to raise ambition and implement existing commitments,” but the world is currently not in line with the temperature targets outlined in the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep global temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius, and ideally below the critical warming threshold of 1.5 degrees.
The planet has already warmed about 1.2 degrees above preindustrial levels; during this year’s summer of record heat, it hit 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels.
This year’s sweltering summer broke global temperature records. June to August was the planet’s warmest such period since records began in 1940, according to data from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.
While the UN report finds the Paris Agreement “has driven near-universal climate action” from each country and put a major focus on lowering emissions, the actions themselves from countries aren’t matching up to the crisis.
“Against forecasts made prior to its adoption, the Paris Agreement has led to contributions that significantly reduce forecasts of future warming, yet the world is not on track to meet the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement,” the UN authors wrote.
In a statement, COP28 president designate Dr. Sultan Al Jaber called on governments and businesses to deliver “real and actionable commitments to address climate change.”
“Today’s global stocktake provides clear direction on how we can meet the expectations of the Paris Agreement by taking decisive action in this critical decade,” Al Jaber said in the statement.
Experts said COP28 represents a pivotal moment for the globe to collectively rise to the occasion, as climate-driven extreme weather and deadly heat has battered countries all over the world.
The UN report is “a call for radical and immediate action,” Tom Evans, policy adviser on climate diplomacy and geopolitics at think tank E3G, said in a statement. “Agreeing on a global rapid response plan at COP28 can turn the tide on climate action.”
Evans called for countries to scale up renewable energy and phase out fossil fuels. But getting the world’s nations to agree on language phasing out all fossil fuels has proved extremely difficult in the past and could run into challenges at this year’s summit – hosted by oil and gas-rich nation the United Arab Emirates.
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