Dec 9, 2020 - Energy & Environment

UN sizes up massive "emissions gap"

Illustration of hand holding a stopwatch with a globe on the face
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The UN is out with its latest analysis of the gap between global emissions trends and "least-cost pathways" to meet the Paris climate deal's ambitious temperature-limiting goals.

Why it matters: The gap remains very large, despite the emissions cuts (occurring for tragic reasons) due to the pandemic curtailing so much activity and travel.

The big picture: "[T]he 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," a summary notes.

  • "However, a green pandemic recovery can cut around 25 percent off the greenhouse emissions predicted in 2030 and put the world close to the 2°C pathway."
  • Carbon Brief has a detailed and graphics-rich look at the report here.

The intrigue: The Washington Post explores one of the report's economic dimensions...

  • "The world’s wealthy will need to reduce their carbon footprints by a factor of 30 to help put the planet on a path to curb the ever-worsening impacts of climate change."
  • "Currently, the emissions attributable to the richest 1 percent of the global population account for more than double those of the poorest 50 percent."
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