Despite the Paris Agreement, our planet continues to warm up at an alarming rate

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 UNEP GAP report

3 November 2016 – Current actions taken by States are not enough to limit the global rise in temperatures to under 2 degrees Celsius. Experts currently estimate that the rise in the planet’s temperatures will instead be somewhere between 2.9 and 3.4 degrees by the end of the century.

While the Paris Agreement enters into force tomorrow, Friday 4 November, a report published today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on global progress towards emissions reductions contains alarming information.

“The world must urgently take action to decrease the predicted emissions by 25 percent from today to the year 2030”, the UNEP press release states.

A report published last week by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) stated that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached record levels in 2015. Carbon dioxide is the main reason behind current global warming.

“If we don’t deal with the carbon dioxide emissions, we can’t fight against climate change and limit the rise in the world’s temperatures below the threshold of 2 degrees compared to preindustrial levels”, the Secretary General of WMO, Petteri Taalas, warned.

In 2030, emissions are expected to reach 54 to 56 gigatons equivalent of CO2 – far above the level of 42 needed to have a chance of limiting global warming to 2oC this century.

“We are moving in the right direction: the Paris Agreement will slow climate change, as will the recent Kigali Amendment to reduce HFCs,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment. “They both show strong commitment, but it's still not good enough if we are to stand a chance of avoiding serious climate change.

Avoiding a human tragedy

“If we don’t start taking additional action now, beginning with the upcoming climate meeting in Marrakesh, we will grieve over the avoidable human tragedy. The growing numbers of climate refugees hit by hunger, poverty, illness and conflict will be a constant reminder of our failure to deliver. The science shows that we need to move much faster.”

Next Monday the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) begins in Marrakech, Morocco. After the success of last year’s Climate Conference (COP21) in Paris, where a historic agreement was reached, the theme of this year’s conference focuses on the implementation of the aforementioned agreement.

The Paris Agreement required ratification by 55 countries responsible for at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions to enter into force.

To this day 84 countries, representing 61 percent of global gas emissions, have ratified the Paris Agreement, including China, the United States and India. Ratification by the European Union on 5 October ensured that the requirements for the entry into force of the agreement were met.

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