By Joke Kujenya
In a sobering report released by UN Climate Change, the international community has been cautioned that the current national climate action plans are inadequate to keep global temperatures below the targeted 1.5° Celsius, as outlined in the Paris Agreement.
The report underscores the pressing need for more substantial efforts to redirect the world’s emissions trajectory, urging pivotal turning point at the upcoming COP28 in Dubai.
UN Climate Change Executive-Secretary, Simon Stiel, emphasized the urgency of bold strides, describing the current governmental efforts as “baby steps” insufficient to avert the impending climate crisis.
Stiel urged not only agreement on stronger climate actions, but also the tangible demonstrations of how these measures will be implemented.
The report analysed the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of 195 Parties to the Paris Agreement, revealing that while emissions are no longer projected to increase after 2030 compared to 2019 levels, they still lack the necessary rapid downward trend specified by climate science for this decade.
Current commitments, if implemented, would result in an 8.8% increase in emissions by 2030 compared to 2010 levels, showcasing a marginal improvement from the previous year’s assessment.
Stiel pointed to the Global Stocktake at COP20 as a critical moment for nations to regain momentum and accelerate efforts across all areas, laying the groundwork for the next round of NDCs due by 2025.
The report also aligns with the latest findings from the Intergovernmental Panel pf Climate Change, stressing the need for a 43% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2019 levels to limit temperature rise to 1.5° degrees Celsius. Stiel emphasized that COP28 is the time to showcase the immediate benefits of bolder climate action, including economic growth, job creation and improved public health.
Additionally, a parallel report on long-term low-emission development strategies indicates that countries aiming for net-zero emissions by mid-century could achieve a 53% reduction in emissions by 2050 if their strategies are fully implemented on time.
However, the report cautions that many net-zero targets remain uncertain and may delay critical actions needed in the present.
And as nations prepare for COP28, the report serves as a stark reminded of the imperative to act with greater ambition and urgency, with leaders emphasizing the historic importance of this critical decade to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.