Where are we really in the fight against climate change? One after another, reports from the international community warn of the inevitable warming of the planet, which is already 1.15°C warmer than pre-industrial times. Report Released by the Secretariat of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change this Friday, September 8, it stands out for its ambition. A key document issued by the Paris Agreement signed in 2015, this first “global stocktake” (known in English as the “Global Stocktag”) calls for a phase-out of all fossil fuels not used. In an unprecedented move, the United Nations called for a reduction in the use of these fuels until then.
What is the main point of this unprecedented report?
“A lot more needs to be done on all fronts” In short, the UN organization states that “Global emissions are not compliant with global mitigation pathways consistent with the Paris Agreement’s temperature objective”. window “Increase ambition and implement existing commitments to limit warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels” There is, but it is “shrinks rapidly”, Experts are panicking.
The ideal? Find out if the world is on track to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, which aim to keep the increase in global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, and preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius. An exercise “Each party aims to ensure its end of the bargain, knows where to go next and how quickly to move to achieve goals.” Simon Steele, the UN’s executive secretary for climate change, sums it up.
This list of efforts by states, the first milestone since the signing of the Paris Agreement, will be the focus of COP28, the UN climate summit in Dubai at the end of the year. Based on this assessment, countries must commit to raising their ambitions and improving their Climate Action Plans, which must be submitted to the UN for review in 2025.
Will All Fossil Fuel Projects Be Abandoned?
“For the first time, the UN has called for fossil fuels to be left in the ground. Countries should decide on this issue at COP28”, Marine Pouget, head of international climate governance at Réseau Action Climat, says: But the English word “unbattered”, which can be translated as “whose intensity is reduced”, is linked to “fossil fuels”, which is debatable: whether all fossil fuel extraction projects should be abandoned or not related. A particularly controversial carbon capture technology?
Plus, Marine Boget would have loved to see “High Commitment” From the United Nations, particularly through the call for a complete phase-out of all fossil fuels by 2050. “It is not only about abandoning future exploitation projects, but also about phasing out infrastructure that is already in operation. The expert points out. This is an important nuance.” Finally, if the text appears to him “overall positive”, Marine Pouget condemns it “Human rights, such as the rights of indigenous peoples and the issue of gender, are given very little priority.” And to emphasize “Climate policies without these principles are no good”.
“Compared to the targets set, we know that there is no sector that has a successful response and we are lagging behind in all”, Lola Vallejo, director of the Climate Program at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, notes. She still recognizes progress: “It is a document that unequivocally calls for an exit from all fossil fuels, including gas and oil.” Not just coal, its use has already been condemned by the UN.
In fact, to achieve carbon neutrality, “We have to change […] All sectors, especially by developing renewable energies”, “Phase out all unused fossil fuels”But “By ending deforestation”, Emphasizes the document. While the United States and Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions (historically responsible for global warming) have been declining for years, other countries’ emissions continue to rise alarmingly. According to the 6th IPCC report, global emissions must peak between 2020 and 2025 to limit warming to 1.5°C.
What does the UN recommend to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050?
The report also lists recommendations for improving the situation as needed by countries “Set more ambitious goals” Reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030, 60% by 2035 compared to 2019, and ultimately achieve global carbon neutrality by 2050.
Unsurprisingly, the text calls for ordering the world “quickly” The “Existing Clean Technologies”, When accelerating “Innovation, development and transfer of new technologies to meet the needs of developing countries”. On the financial side, deployment “strategy” International public funding remains “The Essential Catalyst to Action” Climate, the document points out. The question should be on the agenda of COP29, scheduled for 2024.
A light emerges in the dream of the climate emergency. “Adaptation plans and commitments are increasingly ambitious” Recognize the United Nations, even if most efforts are overlooked “Sectoral and unevenly distributed among regions”.
How did the experts make this statement?
The assessment is the result of a long process of gathering information from IPCC reports, UN climate experts, but also governments and non-governmental organizations. “Three Technical Conversations”, Lola Vallejo explains. All areas of climate action were reviewed: reducing emissions but adapting to current and future impacts, irreparable losses from climate change, mobilizing financial flows, and investments needed for the energy transition.
For his part, physicist and researcher Philip Sias is skeptical and condemning “Brigolage” : “The system has loopholes for fraud. Not all countries report their emissions regularly and accurately. According to him, some have no data and others are not recent. “Similarly, OECD countries and some others have a common system for reporting their emissions, while others do not.”
Most important, after the world’s hottest summer marked by numerous heat waves, floods, fires and other extreme weather events “What will come out of COP28”, Says Lola Vallejo. World leaders will have a choice between ignoring the emergency and leading humanity into the unknown, or implementing ambitious policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Article updated at 8:33 p.m.
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