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The world on a catastrophic warming trajectory, warns the UN

The climate commitments made by countries around the world place the planet on a trajectory of catastrophic warming of up to 2.9 ° C during this century, warned the UN on Monday, whose boss called on leaders to “redouble of efforts” in the run-up to COP28.

The continuation of current policies suggests a rise in temperatures of 3°C, compared to the pre-industrial era, during this century, according to the latest version of the report of the UN Environment Program (UNEP ) on the gap between needs and prospects for reducing emissions, published each year before the COP.

Implementing current climate commitments made by countries around the world will only limit the rise to 2.9°C taking into account their unconditional promises for the future – which are not subject to any conditions of external support – according to this document published just before the start of the major climate negotiations in Dubai as part of COP28 (November 30 – December 12).

This figure would be reduced to 2.5°C by integrating their conditional commitments (for example conditional on obtaining financing or the efforts of other countries).

Leaders must step up their efforts dramatically, with record ambitions, record actions and record emissions reductions.

This requires uprooting the poisonous roots of the climate crisis: fossil fuelshe insisted Monday to the press.

We have a lot of work to do because, at the moment, we are not at all where we should be And we must phenomenally reduce our CO2 emissionsInger Andersen, Director General of UNEP, also told AFP.

Given the intensity of climate impacts we are already seeing, neither outcome is desirableshe insisted, referring to this range of 2.5°C to 2.9°C.

These levels of warming are far too high to hope to limit the cruelest effects of climate change, which is already resulting in uncontrollable fires, devastating floods or droughts depriving populations of income and food, with current average warming of 1.2°C.

Broken records multiply

The signs are multiplying all over the planet.

Photo: Getty Images / AFP / STR

The report released Monday raises concerns about acceleration of the number of records broken on the climate front.

It is already almost certain that 2023 will be the hottest year ever recorded in the world, according to the European Copernicus Observatory.

These gloomy prospects also illustrate the risk of greatly exceeding the objectives of the 2015 Paris agreement, which aims to maintain the increase in global average temperature. well below 2°C and continue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.

In the most optimistic scenario, the probability of limiting warming to 1.5°C is only 14%.calculates UNEP.

To meet these objectives, which are increasingly difficult to achieve, very ambitious emissions reduction policies will have to be put in place, which must be significantly strengthenedrepeats the UN Environment, based in Nairobi.

The G20 responsible for 76% of emissions

When we see that the G20 is responsible for 76% of global emissions, we know who should take fundamental responsibilitypoints out Inger Andersen, ordering these big economies (United States, EU, China, Saudi Arabia, etc.) togo forward.

A mining shovel fills a haul truck at an oil sands mine near Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Canada is still one of the world’s leading oil producers. (Archive photo)

Photo: The Canadian Press

There are 193 countries in the world and it is not what the other 173 do that will make the difference.

In 2030, global emissions will need to be 28% lower than current policies suggest to stay below 2°C, and 42% lower for the more ambitious limit of 1.5°C.

The UN therefore calls on States to strengthen their commitments, formalized every five years in the form of nationally determined contribution (NDC, in English) by the 195 signatories of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

As COP28 approaches, Inger Andersen says she is optimistic about countries’ ability to make progress despite the fractures caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas war.

Countries and delegations understand that, despite the deep divisions that exist and are undeniable, the environment and climate will not wait. We can’t press pauseshe insists.

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