News: United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) has released the Emissions Gap Report,2020.
- Emissions gap report: The report assesses the gap between anticipated emissions and levels consistent with the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming this century to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.
- Temperature Rise: World is still heading for a temperature rise in excess of 3°C this century – far beyond the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.
- Record GHG Emissions: In 2019, the total greenhouse gas emissions, including land-use change reached a new high of 59.1 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e).
- Record carbon emission: Fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (from fossil fuels and carbonates) dominate total GHG emissions.
- Forest fires increasing GHG emissions: Global greenhouse gas emissions have grown 1.4% per year since 2010 on average, with a more rapid increase of 2.6% in 2019 due to a large increase in forest fires.
- G20 countries account for the bulk of emissions: Over the last decade, the four emitters (China, the United States of America, EU27+UK and India) have contributed to 55% of the total GHG emissions.
- Did the COVID-19 pandemic impact the emission level? Due to the pandemic, carbon dioxide emissions are predicted to fall up to 7% in 2020.However, this dip only translates to a 0.01°C reduction of global warming by 2050.
- Which sector reported the lowest dip in emission due to pandemic? Studies indicate that the biggest changes have occurred in transport, as COVID-19 restrictions were targeted to limit mobility, though reductions have also occurred in other sectors.
- Green Pandemic Recovery: Governments can invest in climate action as part of pandemic recovery and solidify emerging net-zero commitments with strengthened pledges so that they can bring emissions to levels broadly consistent with the 2°C goal.
- Change in Consumption Behaviour: The report finds that stronger climate action must include changes in consumption behaviour by the private sector and individuals.Around two-thirds of global emissions are linked to private households when using consumption-based accounting.
- Responsibility on Wealthy: The wealthy bear the greatest responsibility as the emissions of the richest 1% of the global population account for more than twice the combined share of the poorest 50%. This group will need to reduce its footprint by a factor of 30 to stay in line with the Paris Agreement targets.
- Lower Carbon Consumption: Possible actions to support and enable lower carbon consumption include replacing domestic short haul flights with rail, incentives and infrastructure to enable cycling and car-sharing, improving the energy efficiency of housing and policies to reduce food waste.