Countries will have to be far more ambitious in cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions if the world is to effectively curb a rise in global temperature at 2 degrees C or less. This is the conclusion of a new GHG modeling study, based on the estimates of researchers at nine centers, compiled by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The study suggests that annual global GHG emissions should not be larger than 40 Gigatonnes (Gt) to 48.3 (Gt) of equivalent carbon dioxide (C02) in 2020, and should peak sometime between 2015 and 2021.
The study also estimates that between 2020 and 2050, global emissions need to fall by between 48% and 72%, indicating that a goal to cut GHG emissions by around 3% a year over that 30-year period is also needed.
‘There are multiple reasons for countries to make a transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient green economy, of which climate change is a key one,’ says Achim Steiner, U.N. under-secretary general and executive director of UNEP. ‘But energy security, cuts in air pollution and diversifying energy sources are also important drivers.’
The new study, launched on the eve of UNEP's Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum taking place in Bali, Indonesia, has analyzed the pledges of 60 developed and developing economies.
The pledges were submitted to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change following the U.N. climate convention meeting in Copenhagen in December.
The nine modeling centers have now estimated how far these pledges go toward meeting a reasonable peak in emissions, depending on whether the high or the low intentions are met.