Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) officially launched its annual Emissions Gap on Thursday, 27 October 2022. Now in its 13th year, the report provides a yearly review of the difference between where greenhouse gas emissions are predicted to be in 2030 and where they should be to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The 2022 report finds that urgent sector and system-wide transformations are immediately needed to avoid climate disaster. UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, in a message on the 2022 Emissions Gap Report, warns that the world is headed for economy-destroying levels of global heating
Droughts, floods, storms and wildfires are devastating lives and livelihoods across the globe. Loss and damage from the climate emergency is getting worse by the day.
And global and national climate commitments are falling pitifully short. The window to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees is closing fast.
Greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by 45 per cent this decade. But as today’s emissions gap report confirms, they remain at dangerous and record highs and still rising.
Under current policies, the world is headed for 2.8 degrees of global heating by the end of the century. In other words, we are headed for a global catastrophe.
The emissions gap is a by-product of a commitments gap. A promises gap. An action gap. That gap must be filled – starting with COP27 in Egypt.
G20 countries spew eighty per cent of global emissions. Developed countries must lead in boosting their national climate plans.
I recognise the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities in the light of national circumstances. But emerging economies must also do more if we are to have a fighting chance of keeping 1.5 alive.
They need financial and technical support to do so. Just Transition Energy Partnerships are poised to help heavily coal-dependent emerging economies speed their shift to renewables.
These partnerships are moving ahead in India, Indonesia, South Africa and Viet Nam. These coalitions of support must be expanded to even more countries.
The recommendations in today’s report are clear. End our reliance on fossil fuels. Avoid a lock-in of new fossil fuel infrastructure. Invest massively in renewables.
Renewables are a win-win-win solution for climate action, guaranteeing energy security, providing affordable access to electricity and generating new jobs.
To accelerate the deployment of renewables, it is high time for an historic pact between G20 developed and emerging economies to turbocharge the just energy transition.
This pact would require developed countries to help emerging economies access low-cost finance, technologies, critical minerals and other raw materials.
At the same time, Multilateral Development Banks – especially the World Bank Group – must commit to greater climate action.
They must overhaul their entire business model and approach to risk to leverage massive private finance at reasonable cost.
This is essential to helping developing countries reduce emissions and build climate resilience at scale.
Private sector investors and other financial institutions must also step up with concrete actions.
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.
At COP27, I look forward to receiving the recommendations of my Expert Group on net zero commitments of businesses, investors, cities and regions.
As today’s report makes clear, we are headed for economy-destroying levels of global heating. We need climate action on all fronts – and we need it now. We must close the emissions gap before climate catastrophe closes in on us all.