Recent promises from world leaders still lead to a warming of 2.7°C by the end of this century. In a best-case scenario, warming could be limited to 2.1 degrees, and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) concludes with a final estimate based on promises of zero carbon dioxide emissions. The annual Climate Action Tracker reaches a minimum temperature rise of 2.4 degrees. This figure was calculated only on the basis of the policies that countries pledge to adopt over the next ten years.
Before the start of the Glasgow climate summit, the United Nations Environment Program warned of a “catastrophic” temperature rise of 2.7 degrees. If CO2 neutrality targets by 2050 were included, the increase would be limited to 2.2 degrees.
If the obligations of 33 countries before and during COP26 are included directly in the calculation, there is only a slight change in the forecasts. The planet is still warming by 2.7 degrees. Only if CO2 neutrality is actually achieved by 2050, will the world gain a tenth of a degree compared to the latest UNEP estimate. Then the Earth’s temperature rises by 2.1 degrees.
Much lower than expectations
Those estimates are much higher than what was agreed in Paris in 2015: during that climate summit, it was agreed to limit pre-industrial warming to 2 degrees and – if possible – to just 1.5 degrees.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, it is also uncertain whether the CO2 neutrality targets will be met. “There is no transparency around promises, no accountability mechanism and no verification system. Finally, there is the fact that very few of the 2030 commitments put countries on the path of neutrality.”
In its calculations, the Climate Action Tracker results in a temperature rise of at least 2.4 degrees, with “climate action” nations pledged to take on over the next decade. This is calculated without promises in the long run. Moreover, that initiative identifies a “tremendous credibility gap” of roughly one degree between long-term promises and efforts that are already affecting countries.
If all the promises of zero emissions in the long run are fulfilled, the temperature could drop by 1.8 degrees by the end of this century. “But this is important,” says the Climate Action Tracker. The quality of the promises is questionable and countries have no short-term plans to put them on the right track. With current policies, the planet is on track to warming 2.7 degrees sooner. If the policy to reduce emissions by 2030 was implemented, the Earth would still be 2.4 degrees warm.
“It’s all well and good for leaders to claim they have a zero-emissions target. But if they don’t have plans for how to get there, they are frankly just rants about real climate action,” said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics (one of the research institutes that contributes to the program). tracker; editor).
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