Status: 20.11.2023, 18:01 PM
UNEP chief Inger Andersen: "Humanity is breaking all false records." © James Wakibia/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
Nobody wants these records: According to a UN report, emissions of climate-damaging greenhouse gases reached a peak last year. The development jeopardizes the Paris climate targets.
Nairobi/New York - Emissions of climate-damaging greenhouse gases reached a record in 2022. According to a report published on Monday by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), global greenhouse gas emissions increased by 2021.2022 percent from 1 to 2 to 57.4 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
In view of the development, the commitments made so far to the Paris Climate Agreement are no longer sufficient, according to the report. Even if they are adhered to, the world is heading for a temperature increase of between 2.5 and 2.9 degrees Celsius this century compared to pre-industrial times, it said.
Climate targets in jeopardy
In view of this development, UNEP chief Inger Andersen called for greater efforts, especially from the industrialised countries, two weeks before the UN Climate Change Conference COP 28. "Humanity is breaking all false records when it comes to climate change," Andersen said at the launch of the UNEP report on the so-called emissions gaps. This is about the difference between the mathematically permissible emissions of CO2 and other comparable greenhouse gases for the climate targets and the actual emissions.
In the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, the international community agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius in order to avert the most catastrophic consequences of climate change. In return, only a limited amount of climate-damaging greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) may be released into the earth's atmosphere. Most of these are released during the combustion of oil, natural gas and coal. However, experts do not consider the measures planned by the states so far to be ambitious enough.
The possibility of achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement depends to a large extent on intensified measures before the end of this decade, the UNEP chief stressed. Emissions forecast for 2030 would have to be reduced by at least 28 to 42 percent compared to the currently planned scenarios in order to achieve the agreed targets of 2 and 1.5 degrees, respectively.
UN Secretary-General wants 'explosion of ambition'
In New York, UN Secretary-General António Guterres spoke of a "betrayal of vulnerable states" in view of the report on global warming. In particular, the leaders of the developed countries must drastically increase their commitment to combating global warming at the upcoming climate conference, he warned. He called for an "explosion of ambition."
This is also necessary in view of the global warming that has already been observed. In September of this year, according to UNEP chief Andersen, global temperatures were on average 1.8 degrees Celsius higher than in pre-industrial times. It is almost certain that 2023 will be the warmest year on record.
Just a few weeks ago, Andersen had pointed out the funding gaps in climate change adaptation measures, especially in the Global South. The new report once again reminded us of the responsibility of industrialised nations, which are particularly responsible for the increase in emissions.
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Calls for global cooperation
"We have arrived at the superlative of urgency," said WWF climate chief Viviane Raddatz, commenting on the UN report. At the latest at the climate conference in Dubai, the warnings should finally be reflected in results. "The international community no longer seems to see the warning because of all the warning signs: Without rapid emission reductions - including by phasing out all fossil fuels - it will not be possible to limit global warming to as much as possible 1.5 degrees."
"No state alone can solve the climate crisis, it forces global cooperation," Welthungerhilfe stressed. This also includes the industrialised countries providing the 2015 billion dollars in annual climate finance by 100 that they promised in 2025.
The share of the rich in global warming
A report by the development organization Oxfam, also presented on Monday, further illustrates the inequality in causing global warming: The richest one percent of the world's population caused as many climate-damaging greenhouse gases in 2019 as the five billion people who make up the poorer two-thirds, the report said. The greenhouse gas emissions of people with their private income and assets are increasing. Among other things, this is due to more frequent air travel, larger houses and more climate-damaging consumption overall - in extreme cases in the form of luxury villas, mega yachts and private jets.
According to the report, the richest ten percent of the world's population were responsible for around half of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. Around 53 percent of Germans belong to this ten percent. Dpa