Global emissions continue to increase at an alarmimg pace as most of the countries are not on track to cut their carbon footprints as per their pledges of climate actions, observed the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in its flagship "emission gap" report on Tuesday. That includes a $50 million "reverse auction" that encourages businesses to bid on government contracts awarded based on the lowest cost per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions.
Countries must massively ramp up their action to cut emissions to prevent global temperatures rising beyond risky thresholds. warns the UN. This would be enough to close the 2 deg C gap, the report said.
In short, it's the difference between what nations need to do and what they're actually doing to prevent risky levels of climate change. "We need an elephant and this is a mouse".
The UN Environment annual emissions gap report comes after a major study from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of the need for "unprecedented" action to slash carbon emissions by almost half by 2030 to curb temperature rises to 1.5C (2.7F) and to zero by 2050.
It is still possible to keep global warming to 2C (3.6F) but the "technical feasibility" of meeting the tougher 1.5C (2.7F) goal is dwindling, UN Environmentalists said.
If the gap between current promises for emissions reductions and the reduction targets set by the Paris agreement isn't closed by 2030, it's unlikely warming will be limited to 1.5 degrees.
Increased emissions and lagging action means the gap between what is likely to happen and what needs to be done is larger this year than ever.
The IPCC review found that limiting temperature rises to 1.5C would make the impacts of climate change, from droughts to rising seas and destruction of coral reefs, less extreme than global warming of 2C or more.
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"If the IPCC report represented a global fire alarm, this report is the arson investigation", Joyce Msuya, deputy executive director of UN Environment, said in a news release.
The European Union unveiled its long-term vision on combating climate change in a push for more ambitious action on the environment on Wednesday, just days after President Trump rejected his government's warning on the economic costs of global warming.
"We're feeding this fire while the means to extinguish it are within reach".
Highlighting gap in their actions, the report noted that the nations must raise their ambition by 3x (three times) to meet the 2 degree C target and 5x (five times) to meet 1.5°C target.
In a hotly anticipated strategy for tackling climate change out to 2050, the commission outlined eight pathways that would lead to greenhouse gas reductions of 80% or 90% compared to 1990, or go fully carbon neutral - and urged future policymakers to go with the biggest cuts.
In June 2017, President Trump announced his intention for the U.S., the second largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world, to withdraw from the agreement.
Institutions such as city, state and regional governments, companies, investors, higher education and civil society organisations are increasingly committing to climate action and are an important element in achieving global emissions goals.
'So while some may see this as yet more doom and gloom, it's clear that governments can make global carbon emissions peak and decline soon if they simply do more of what's proven to work, such as cutting energy waste and switching from coal to clean energy, ' he said.