The window to take urgent climate action is closing rapidly. Unless countries dramatically scale up their efforts to counter the climate crisis, the world faces a global catastrophe, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned today.
Guterres’ comments come upon the release of the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP’s) Emissions Gap Report 2022, which shows that under current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the world is headed for 2.8 degrees of global heating by the end of the century.
Simply put, an NDC is a climate action plan to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts. Each party to the Paris Agreement is required to establish an NDC and update it every five years. Despite a call for strengthened NDCs for 2030, UNEP’s report finds that progress since COP26 in Glasgow last year has been inadequate.
“The recommendations in today’s report are clear,” said Guterres. “End our reliance on fossil fuels. Avoid a lock-in of new fossil fuel infrastructure. Invest massively in renewables.”
“Commitments to net zero are worth zero without the plans, policies and actions to back it up. Our world cannot afford any more greenwashing, fake movers or late movers,” he added. “We must close the emissions gap before climate catastrophe closes in on us all.”
Guterres’ warning comes less than two weeks before the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), where global leaders will discuss ways to tackle the climate emergency – from building resilience and adapting to its impacts to financing climate action.
As climate impacts intensify, the Emissions Gap Report 2022 finds that only an urgent system-wide transformation can avoid an accelerating climate disaster. The report looks at how to deliver this transformation through action in the electricity supply, industry, transport and buildings sectors, and the food and financial systems.