“Today’s interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet. It shows governments are nowhere close to the level of ambition needed to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said Guterres in a statement.
Experts have repeatedly warned that exceeding the threshold will contribute to more heatwaves and hot summers, greater sea level rise, worse droughts and rainfall extremes, wildfires, floods and food shortages for millions of people.
Despite increased efforts, the carbon reduction plans submitted to the UNFCCC fall “far short” of what is needed and show countries need to “strengthen their mitigation commitments under the Paris Agreement,” according to the report.
It shows that the revised climate action plans — which cover 40% of countries party to the 2015 Paris Agreement that account for 30% of global emissions — would only deliver a combined emissions reduction of 0.5% from 2010 levels by 2030.
Guterres called on major emitters to increase efforts to reduce emissions and use the Covid-19 pandemic recovery as a chance to “build back greener and better.”
“Decision makers must walk the talk. Long-term commitments must be matched by immediate actions to launch the decade of transformation that people and planet so desperately need,” Guterres added.
The report is a “snapshot, not a full picture” of the individual country plans — called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) by the UN — because of difficulties posed by the pandemic, said the UNFCCC executive secretary, Patricia Espinosa Friday.
The UNFCCC will release a second report before COP26, and Espinosa urged all remaining emitters to contribute.
“…it’s time for all remaining Parties to step up, fulfil what they promised to do and submit their NDCs as soon as possible,” Espinosa said. “If this task was urgent before, it’s crucial now.”