The cumulative carbon pollution reductions of countries that have submitted updated goals ahead of November’s COP 26 are only enough to reduce global carbon emissions 1% below 2010 levels by 2030 — far behind the 45% cuts required over the next nine years to avoid the worst climate catastrophes — a UN report warns. “We are very, very far from where we need to be,” U.N. climate chief Patricia Espinosa said.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the report “a red alert for our planet.”
The pledges submitted so far come from roughly 75 countries that cumulatively account for about 30% of global carbon pollution. Many of Earth’s top polluters, including the U.S., China, and India, missed the December 31 deadline for submitting updated reduction targets. The Biden administration says it will announce updated American carbon reduction goals before its planned Earth Day climate summit. While many countries put forth bold targets, “those taking ambitious action are being overshadowed by a few countries that are lagging behind,” Helen Mountford, vice president for climate and economics at the WRI told the Washington Post. “These laggards must stop fiddling while the world burns.”
“Nothing less than bold action in this decade can set the entire world on the path that we have confidence will get to net-zero emissions by 2050 — or earlier,” climate envoy, John Kerry, told the UN Security Council this week. “For those that argue that climate action is just too expensive, study after study confirms that now at this moment in our history, inaction comes with a far higher price tag than action.” (AP, Washington Post $, New York Times $, Thomson Reuters Foundation, CNN, Earther, FT $, Axios, The Hill, Bloomberg $, Reuters, Climate Home)