Greenhouse gases up 20% since 2000, says new report

Thursday, November 22, 2012
[PHOTO: Mohri UN-CECAR / CC BY 2.0] 
London/Nairobi: Action on climate change needs to be scaled-up and accelerated without delay if the world is to have a running chance of keeping a global average temperature rise below two degrees celsius this century.

The Emissions Gap Report, coordinated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the European Climate Foundation shows that greenhouse gas emissions levels are now around 14 per cent above where they need to be in 2020.

Instead of declining, concentration of warming gases like carbon dioxide (C02) are actually increasing in the atmosphere, up around 20 per cent since 2000.

The Emissions Gap Report 2012 points out that even if the most ambitious level of pledges and commitments were implemented by all countries and under the strictest set of rules, there will now be a gap of 8 Gt of CO2 equivalent by 2020.

UNEP Chief Scientist Joe Alcamo said, "In this report, scientists that we convened together, over 45 scientists from around the world, came to the conclusion that by 2020, if we just complied with current pledges that the countries have made to reduce emissions, global emissions will not be low enough to be on track to meet the two degree climate target. So in other words, we cannot wait until 2020 to have stringent reductions."

There are abundant examples of actions at the national level in areas ranging from improved building codes to fuel standards for vehicles which if scaled up and replicated can assist.

"We know what the challenge is. It's a question now of taking action. Between now and 2020, through the negotiations, we can tighten up the rules for complying with pledges, that would lead to a reduction in emissions. We can carry out in their own countries a variety of policies in their own self-interest, in the energy sector, transportation, in appliance standards, and deforestation, all would lead to their own self-interest, but at the same time would lead to substantial emission reductions, enough to close the gap in 2020," Alcamo further said.

The report estimates that there are potentially large emissions reductions possible—in a mid-range of 17 Gt of C02 equivalents - from sectors such as buildings, power generation and transport that can more than bridge the gap by 2020.
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