UN: World on track to double warming limit this century

The world is on track to reach nearly 3 degrees Celsius of warming this century, double the United Nations’s threshold, even if developed nations meet their current emissions pledges, according to a report the U.N. issued Monday.

In its annual Emissions Gap report, the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) projected that by the end of the century, the world will warm by up to 2.9 degrees Celsius from preindustrial levels absent further action. UNEP estimated that fully implementing all of the Paris Climate Agreement’s unconditional nationally determined contributions (NDCs) would put the globe on track to warm by 2.9 degrees this century, while implementing the conditional NDCs would result in a 2.5-degree increase.

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The U.N. identified some progress on emissions. In 2015, the year of the Paris Climate Agreement, the world was on track to up greenhouse gas emissions by 16 percent by 2030. The new report indicates that figure is down to 3 percent.

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The report projects that to limit warming to the 1.5-degree threshold, greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by at least 42 percent by the end of the decade. Emissions must fall 28 percent to stay within the 2-degree limit of the Paris Agreement.

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“Present trends are racing our planet down a dead-end three-degree temperature rise.  In short, the report shows that the emissions gap is more like an emissions canyon.  A canyon littered with broken promises, broken lives, and broken records,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a Monday press conference. ”All of this is a failure of leadership, a betrayal of the vulnerable, and a massive missed opportunity.  Renewables have never been cheaper or more accessible.”

The report comes as nations are set to convene in Dubai for the COP28 climate conference at the end of November. It also follows the warmest summer on record, followed by a similarly record-breaking September that climatologists say is likely to presage the warmest overall year on record.

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