In the eight years since the historic Paris climate agreement, the world’s countries have not done enough to cut pollution and prevent catastrophic levels of warming, according to the United Nations’ first scorecard since Paris, released Friday.
As the world’s countries gather for COP28 in Dubai in late November to measure how much progress has been made in cutting global emissions since Paris, Friday’s assessment by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change shows that the world is still seriously on the wrong track.
One of the key facets of COP28 will be a so-called “global stocktake,” measuring how quickly the world’s countries meet the emissions targets set in Paris to help lower the temperature of a rapidly warming globe.
The report warns that there is “a rapidly narrowing window to raise ambition and implement existing commitments,” but the world is currently out of alignment with the temperature targets set out in the Paris Agreement, which aims has 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 pre-industrial levels; During this year’s record heat summer, the temperature was 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
This year’s sweltering summer broke global temperature records. June through August were the warmest period on Earth since records began in 1940, according to data from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.
While the UN report shows that the Paris Agreement has “spurred near-universal climate action” from every country and placed a major emphasis on cutting emissions, the countries’ own actions are out of step with the crisis.
“Contrary to predictions made prior to its adoption, the Paris Agreement has led to contributions that significantly reduce projections of future warming, yet the world is still not on track to meet the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement achieve,” the UN authors wrote.
In a statement, COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al Jaber called on governments and companies to make “real and actionable commitments to tackle climate change.”
“Today’s global stocktake provides clear guidance 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 say COP28 represents a crucial moment for the world to collectively address this situation, as climate-driven extreme weather and deadly heat have ravaged countries around the world.
The UN report is “a call for radical and immediate action,” Tom Evans, climate diplomacy and geopolitics policy adviser at think tank E3G, said in a statement. “Agreeing agreement on a global rapid response plan at COP28 could turn the tide of climate action.”
Evans called on countries to scale up renewable energy and phase out fossil fuels. But getting the world’s countries to agree on phasing out all fossil fuels has proven extremely difficult in the past and could face challenges at this year’s summit, hosted by the oil and gas-rich nation the United Arab Emirates.
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