UNEP: Current climate pledges are insufficient

A report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released in advance of the UN climate convention meeting in Cancun reconfirms that current pledges to reduce greenhouse gases are insufficient to prevent dangerous climate change.

The report analyses the voluntary pledges made by many countries under last year's Copenhagen Accord. It concludes that even if those commitments are fully realised, carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions in 2020 will be five gigatonnes higher than the amount required if global temperature rise is to be kept below 2°C. If commitments are only implemented in their weakest form, however, then emissions would exceed the limit by nine gigatonnes, and be only marginally lower than business-as-usual emissions.

Current global annual emissions of greenhouse gases amount to 49 gigatonnes of CO2e, and are predicted to rise to 56 gigatonnes by 2020 if no action is taken. Scientists believe that emissions cannot exceed 44 gigatonnes in 2020 if the 2 degree target is to be met.

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