The UK and Italy have their work cut out for them if as co-hosts they are to rescue COP 26 from disaster – and with it, life on earth.
This is not hyperbole or hysteria. Pledges to cut emissions are ‘far off track’, say the UNFCCC, custodians of the Paris Agreement. To be on track to limit global warming to below 2C by the end of the century, the IPCC say a 45% cut in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions against 2010 levels is required by 2030.
An interim NDC Synthesis Report for the UNFCCC shows pledges currently amount to 1%. That is ONE per cent. This is business as usual, not a green recovery or the build back better moment widely envisaged and called for during the height of the Covid 19 pandemic.
COP26 is ‘crucial’
Under the Paris Agreement of 2015, the 197 signatory countries are required to submit ever more ambitious plans to cut their respective GHG emissions, known as National Determined Contributions, every five years. They were due to be submitted last year.
As of 31st December 2020, 75 Parties had communicated new or updated NDC, countries cumulatively representing approximately 30 per cent of global GHG emissions. However, it must be noted that at the time only 2 of the world’s 18 largest emitter countries had presented an updated NDC – the UK and Europe.
“This report shows that current levels of climate ambition are very far from putting us on a pathway that will meet our Paris Agreement goals,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change. “While we acknowledge the recent political shift in momentum towards stronger climate action throughout the world, decisions to accelerate and broaden climate action everywhere must be taken now. This underlines why COP 26 must be the moment when we get on track towards a green, clean, healthy and prosperous world.”
“We congratulate Parties that rose to the challenges posed by COVID-19 in 2020, honoured their commitments under the Paris Agreement and submitted their NDCs by the deadline,” said Ms. Espinosa, “but it’s time for all remaining Parties to step up, fulfil what they promised to do under the Paris Agreement and submit their NDCs as soon as possible. If this task was urgent before, it’s crucial now.”
The window for action is closing
Incoming COP26 President Alok Sharma said, “This report should serve as an urgent Call to Action and I am asking all countries, particularly major emitters, to submit ambitious 2030 emission reduction targets”.
“We must recognise that the window for action to safeguard our planet is closing fast”, he added.
Espinosa encouraged all nations, even those who have submitted new or updated NDCs, to investigate further areas in order to create more robust NDCs. She added that an increase in ambition must be accompanied by a significant increase in support for climate action in developing nations, fulfilling a key element of the Paris Agreement.
The World Biogas Association’s landmark report, Biogas: Pathways to 2030 shows how countries can deploy anaerobic digestion and biogas to secure immediate cuts in greenhouse gas emissions – 10% of global emissions at its full potential.