Another Report Says We Are Steering the Planet Into a Dangerously Hot Future

Ahead of climate talks in Doha, Qatar next week, the UN Environmental Programme has released the third Emissions Gap Report. Climate Interactive Co-Director Beth Sawin is once again one of the report’s authors. Like the World Bank report released last week, this report reminds us that reducing our emissions is paramount.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, summarized the Emissions Gap report by saying, “This report is a reminder that time is running out, but that the technical means and the policy tools to allow the world to stay below a maximum 2 degrees Celsius are still available to governments and societies”. The reminder that the gap between a 2 degree future and where we are now is still widening, and that countries are still putting forward targets that are far short of what is needed is sobering.

The Emissions Gap report goes beyond the stark assessments of where we are relative to where we need to be, by identifying sectors where dramatic reduction can be made to bridge the gap. The report identifies 4 gigatons of CO2 equivalent emissions that could be reduced by 2020 by improving energy efficiency in buildings and vehicles. All together UNEP has identified 17 Gigatons of  CO2 equivalents that could be reduced from sectors such as buildings, power generation and  transport, so that by 2020 we can close the emissions gap.

Chapter 2 of the report  looks at current and projected global emissions and draws on the analysis of scientists around the world, including the Climate Interactive team, who have tracked and added up the implications of emissions reduction pledges within the UNFCCC climate negotiations. Climate Interactive’s latest analysis can be found on our Climate Scoreboard page.

To examine what level of emission reductions enable us to limit warming to 2 degrees by 2100, check out Climate Interactive’s C-ROADS simulator, which you can request a free copy of online. Climate Interactive has also developed the En-ROADS simulator, which provides an interactive platform to analyze which policies and investment strategies will steer us away from a dangerously hot future.

Photo credit: Lyncis