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Action must be taken now

Tuesday 09 Jan 18

Emissions Gap Report 2017

The world’s countries must do more to limit global warming. The UN’s Emissions Gap Report 2017 calls for higher ambitions for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

If global warming by the end of this century is to be limited to a global mean temperature increase of two degrees Celsius—and preferably near 1.5 degrees Celsius—the world’s nations must have higher ambitions and take greater mitigating action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. This is the overall conclusion in this year’s Emissions Gap Report.

Based on last year’s climate research, the report describes how great the gap is between the countries’ promised reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases and the actual reduction required to keep the global mean temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius.

According to the report, the latest research shows that this gap is alarmingly wide.

The reductions of greenhouse gas emissions which were promised by the nations in Paris in 2015—and which constitute the foundation of the Paris Agreement—only amount to a third of the total reduction needed before it will be realistic to keep the temperature increase below two degrees Celsius, according to the report.

This year’s Emissions Gap Report states that benefits can be achieved by taking both short-term and long-term actions. In the short term, the countries can bridge part of the gap by limiting emissions of the so-called short-lived climate pollutants, which are greenhouse gases such as methane which have a relatively short lifetime in the atmosphere. In the long term, there is still a need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which have a long lifetime in the atmosphere and thus a longer warming effect, including CO2.