Updated climate plans for the countries that are signatories to the Paris Agreement have so far fall short of expectations. Although the deadline for the update was December 31, many countries have yet to come up with anything. And those who have done it sometimes just want to do what they promised years ago – or even less. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres talks about a “red warning for our planet”.
In the Paris climate agreement, nearly every country in the world pledges to limit global warming to less than two degrees, and better than 1.5 degrees. But the treaty does not state what that means for each country. Every government can determine this for itself. The Paris Agreement stipulates that each country will amend its plans upwards every few years. “At the moment, it is as if we were walking blindly in a minefield,” said the Secretary-General of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat in Bonn, Patricia Espensosa.
On Friday, the United Nations released an account based on updated climate plans that had to be submitted by signatories by the end of 2020. But only 75 countries have done so, and they are responsible for only 30 percent of global warming emissions. Others let the deadline pass.
According to the United Nations, the calculations based on the data available so far are devastating: they will only reduce harmful CO2 emissions by one percent by 2030 compared to 2010. According to the calculations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, one percent less emissions will be required. 45 percent for the 1.5 point target and 25 percent less emissions for the 2 score target.
Some countries have set more ambitious goals for themselves. These include the countries of the European Union, Great Britain, Norway, Ukraine, Argentina, Chile and Kenya. In contrast, other countries such as Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Australia and New Zealand did not actually increase their previous targets from 2015. Even Brazil defaulted on its previous commitments.
Plans are expected to update in the next few weeks from the United States and China – the two biggest emitters. New US President Joe Biden announced this on April 22. It had reflected his country’s exit from the Paris climate agreement decided by his predecessor, Donald Trump.
UN Climate Chief Espinosa emphasized that the current report is only a “snapshot, not the complete picture.” The Coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult to present updated plans on time. That is why there will be a new report ahead of the next global climate summit in November in Glasgow, Scotland. To do so, it is important that all countries that have not yet revise their targets do so as soon as possible.
Climate researcher Niklas Hohn commented on the findings, saying, “You have to say we have a big gap.” The European Union and other countries that have submitted improved plans on time are positive. On the other hand, the behavior of Brazil or Mexico is very disappointing. “I really hope for the United States,” Hoon said. Plans of China and India are still pending. “If these three countries suggest something, something will change dramatically.”
From: APA / dpa