UNEP's Executive Director Inger Andersen addresses delegates at the 50th anniversary of the UN Environment Program in Nairobi on March 3, 2022. (TONY KARUMBA / AFP)
NAIROBI / UNITED NATIONS – Community of nations must implement bold measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avert runaway climate emergencies including floods, droughts, heatwaves and cyclones, the UN Environment Programme said in a new report launched Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya's capital.
This report tells us in cold scientific terms what nature has been telling us, all year, through deadly floods, storms and raging fires: we have to stop filling our atmosphere with greenhouse gases and stop doing it fast.
Executive Director of UNEP
The UNEP's 2022 Emissions Gap Report notes that progress towards meeting net-zero targets across the globe had stagnated, worsening the vulnerability of communities and ecosystems to adverse impacts of a heating planet.
Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UNEP, said the 13th edition of Emissions Gap Report was categorical and that taming the unfolding climate crisis hinged on a radical transition to low-carbon lifestyles and economic development.
"This report tells us in cold scientific terms what nature has been telling us, all year, through deadly floods, storms and raging fires: we have to stop filling our atmosphere with greenhouse gases and stop doing it fast," said Andersen.
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Launched ahead of the 27th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Summit slated for Egypt from Nov 6 to 18, the UNEP report decried lackluster commitment by nations to undertake radical carbon-cutting measures and forestall disasters linked to planetary warming.
The Emissions Gap Report 2022 dubbed "The closing window-climate crisis calls for rapid transformation of societies" indicates that limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius as set out in the Paris climate accord could be a mirage, as nations fall short of their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
According to the report, carbon-cutting pledges by individual nations have been inadequate and slow to implement, pointing to a possible temperature rise of above 2.6 degrees centigrade by 2100.
Developed countries must lead in boosting their national climate plans, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, noting that emerging economies need financial and technical support to step up their climate actions
The report acknowledges that policy mismatch, impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, the unfolding food and fuel crisis alongside geopolitical tensions have undermined nations' capacity to implement ambitious carbon-cutting measures.
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To accelerate progress towards carbon neutrality, the report calls for a rapid overhaul of energy, transport, industrial and financial sectors to ensure they are less carbon-intensive.
Anne Olhoff, the Chief Scientific Editor of the UNEP Emissions Gap Report said that attaining net-zero targets that deliver myriad benefits like clean air, green jobs and universal access to energy required harnessing cleaner technologies and radical policy and mindset shifts.
"The good news is that we have all the technological solutions to get us on track to achieving the Paris Agreement goals in the shorter term and that we hopefully have enough time to develop new solutions for sectors that are difficult to decarbonize," Olhoff said.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday urged the international community to take climate actions on all fronts, warning the window to limit global temperature rise is closing fast.
Guterres made the remarks in a video message on the release of the latest Emissions Gap Report by UNEP, which shows that under current Nationally Determined Contributions, the climate action plan to cut national emissions, the world is headed for 2.8 degrees Celsius of global heating by the end of the century.
"As today's report makes clear, we are headed for economy-destroying levels of global heating," he said. "We need climate action on all fronts — and we need it now."
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Guterres called on the international community to act to end reliance on fossil fuels, avoid a lock-in of new fossil fuel infrastructure and invest massively in renewables, citing the UNEP report's recommendations.
Developed countries must lead in boosting their national climate plans, the UN chief said, noting that emerging economies need financial and technical support to step up their climate actions.