Following on last year’s Emissions Gap report which was influential in the Cancun COP-16 climate negotiations, Climate Interactive Co-Director, Beth Sawin, again this year contributed to a UNEP/European Climate Foundation assessment, Bridging the Emissions Gap, which was released in advance of COP-17.
As with last year’s report, the Bridging the Gap Report looks across various studies of the emissions reduction pledges within the UNFCCC and finds that a significant gap still exists between expected emissions under the pledges and emissions consistent with a likely chance of limiting temperature increase to 2°C. The report include CI’s Climate Scoreboard as one of the 10 modeling studies assessing the pledges.
Even in the most optimistic scenarios examined in the report, the gap between expected emissions under the pledges and the 2020 emissions consistent with limiting temperature increase to 2°C was 6 Gtons CO2e. Under less optimistic scenarios the gap could be as large as 11 Gtons CO2e.
The new report goes beyond quantifying the Emissions Gap to also look across studies of technologically feasible options for reducing emissions and finds a package of measures, from increasing the rate of improvement in energy efficiency to scaling up low carbon fuel supplies, for reducing the 2020 Emissions Gap to zero.
Just as Climate Interactive is finding with our new En-ROADS model of the transition to a low carbon economy, Bridging the Emissions Gap shows that while the world is currently facing a serious gap between the pledges of nations and the level of emissions reductions that are needed, the gap is actually one of determination and political will, not one of physical or technological constraint.