UNEP REPORT - PERSISTENCE OF COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS MAKES SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CRISIS UNLIKELY

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5 november 2013


Warsaw climate talks warned time is running out to close 'emissions gap'


UN calls on governments to step up action to prevent catastrophic climate change, reports BusinessGreen

Jessica Shankleman for BusinessGreen, part of the Guardian Environment Network, theguardian.com, Tuesday 5 November 2013

As world leaders prepare to meet in Poland for the latest United Nations summit on climate change, a major new report has warned that the chance to limit global temperature rises to below 2C is swiftly diminishing.

The United Nations Environment Programme's annual "Gap report", issued on Tuesday aims to highlight the efforts needed by governments and businesses to avoid catastrophic climate change.

This year's report shows that even if nations meet their current climate pledges, greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 are likely to be eight to 12 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e) above the level needed to have a good chance of remain below 2C by 2020 on the lowest cost pathway.

The report shows that emissions should peak at 44 GtCO2e by 2020 and fall to 22GtCO2e by 2050 to stay within a 2C target, but under a business-as-usual scenario, which includes no emissions pledges, emissions would reach 59 GtCO2e in 2020.

Even if countries deliver policies and investments that allow them to meet their current emissions targets, emissions would be just 3-7GtCO2e lower than the business-as-usual scenario, the report warns.

Unep is now warning that rising emissions means it is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to limit warming to safe levels. However, it finds that it concludes it is still possible to meet a 2C target if leaders agree more ambitious targets for 2020.

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