New and updated voluntary commitments by the countries of the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are by no means sufficient. This emerges from a report by the UN environmental program UNEP. According to the previous plans, greenhouse gas emissions can only be reduced by 7.5 percent by 2030. However, reductions of 30 percent are necessary to limit global warming to 2 ° C, and 55 percent to reach 1.5 ° C.
If the current voluntary commitments remain, the earth will warm by 2.7 ° C by 2100, according to the UNEP report entitled “The Heat in on” (PDF). This is the 12th report of the UN Environment Program, in which it annually reviews the national climate programs.
With the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, the signatory states committed themselves to submitting new national climate protection contributions (NDC) every five years in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By the end of September 2021, 120 countries, which account for just over half of global greenhouse gas emissions, had notified UNEP of new or updated NDCs.
In 2021 alone, 60 gigatons of greenhouse gases are expected to be emitted. The world has eight years to save 28 gigatons and thus limit global warming to 1.5 ° C. For the 2 ° C target, annual emissions would have to be reduced by 13 gigatons by 2030.
Alok Sharma, President of the UN Climate Change Conference, added that if the commitments made at the 2015 conference in Paris had remained, global warming would have been limited to below 4 ° C. Current analyzes would have shown that. If the existing commitments to complete climate neutrality were kept, they could bring the projected global temperature rise to 2.2 ° C and give hope that further precautions will halt the catastrophic effects of climate change. But the voluntary commitments are still too vague.
In addition to reducing CO₂, methane could also help to reduce warming in the short term. Methane emissions are the second largest factor contributing to global warming. At twelve years, it has a much shorter lifespan in the atmosphere than CO₂. A reduction in methane emissions could therefore limit the rise in temperature more quickly. All available inexpensive technical measures could reduce anthropogenic methane emissions by around 20 percent per year.
The UNEP recently stated in a report that national funding plans provide for the extraction of more fossil fuels than is good for the climate. The next UN climate conference begins on October 31 in Glasgow.