2021 is a decisive year to face the global climate emergency

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2021 is a decisive year to face the global climate emergency
António Guterres
Mon March 01, 2021

"The science is clear, to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 ° C, we must reduce global emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2010 levels," explained the UN Secretary General


Nations must redouble their efforts and come up with stronger and more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they are to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2 ° C, and ideally 1.5 ° C, to end of the century, says a new report by UN Climate Change published this Friday.

“2021 is a decisive year to face the global climate emergency. The science is clear, to limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5 ° C, we must reduce global emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2010 levels ”, explained the UN Secretary General during the presentation of the report .

The document that evaluates the plans of the so-called National Determined Contributions, the measures that individual countries are taking to reduce their greenhouse gases, established in the Agreement, shows that, although most nations have shown their intention to reduce emissions, their combined impact puts them on track to achieve just a 1% reduction by 2030 compared to 2010 levels.

“The report […] is a red alert for our planet. It shows that governments are nowhere near the level of ambition necessary to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees and meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement, ”Guterres stressed.

The UN Executive Secretary for Climate Change, Patricia Espinosa, clarified that the document is still provisional and does not provide a complete picture of the Determined National Contributions, since COVID-19 posed significant challenges for many nations with respect to completing their plans. in 2020.

Espinosa indicated that a second report will be published before COP26 to be held this year in Glasgow, United Kingdom in November, and urged all countries, specifically the main issuers that have not yet done so, to present their plans as required. as soon as possible so that your information can be included in the updated report. By 2020, 75 countries had communicated new contributions or updated targets.

“While we recognize the recent political shift in the drive for stronger climate action around the world, decisions to accelerate and scale up climate action everywhere must be made now. This underscores why COP 26 should be the moment when we move towards a green, clean, healthy and prosperous world, ”said the executive secretary.

Espinosa congratulated the countries that met their commitments and submitted their contributions before the deadline.

"But it is time for all remaining Parties to step up, deliver on what they promised to do under the Paris Agreement and present as soon as possible. If this task was urgent before, now it is crucial," he said.

Like the Secretary General, Espinosa noted that 2021 provides the world with an unprecedented opportunity to make significant progress on climate change and urged all nations to rebuild after COVID-19 with more sustainable and climate-resilient economies.

COP26 President Alok Sharma said the report should serve as an urgent call to action and called on all countries, particularly major emitters, to come up with ambitious emission reduction targets by 2030.

"We must recognize that the time to safeguard our planet is rapidly running out," he added.

Only two of the 18 largest emitters, the UK and the European Union, submitted an updated contribution in 2020 that contains a sharp increase in their greenhouse gas reduction targets. Others, although they submitted plans, showed very low commitments, the report states.

The National Determined Contributions define specific objectives and actions for each country to reduce emissions in the next 5 to 10 years. They are essential to target the right investments and attract sufficient funding.

"Now is the time. The global coalition committed to net zero emissions by 2050 is growing among governments, businesses, investors, cities, regions, and civil society. COVID-19 recovery plans offer the opportunity to rebuild in a greener and cleaner way. Leaders must speak and act. Long-term commitments must be accompanied by immediate actions to launch the decade of transformation that both the people and the planet need, ”concluded António Guterres.

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