Monday 13th January 2020
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Overview of recent strategic UN climate reports

As 2020 kicks off, EnviroNews attempts a synopsis of 2019’s key reports on climate action, climate economics, and on issues that highlight climate impacts and solutions

António Guterres
António Guterres. UN Secretary General

Report of the UN Secretary-General

The Climate Action Summit held in September 2019 delivered important new actions, a surge in climate momentum, and a clear destination: 45% emissions cuts by 2030 on the way to a carbon neutral world by 2050. The Secretary-General’s report on the outcomes of the Summit highlights the way forward in 2020 and outlines 10 priority areas of action.

UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report 2019

As the world strives to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change, it is crucial to track progress towards globally agreed climate goals. For a decade, UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report has compared where greenhouse gas emissions are heading against where they need to be and highlighted the best ways to close the gap.

UNDP’s Global Outlook Report 2019

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Climate Change (UNFCCC) have been working together since 2014 to support countries in developing their national climate plans – Nationally Determined Contributions for the Paris Agreement or NDCs. This report is said to be the most detailed review yet of momentum since the Paris Agreement and was designed to both inspire and inform the UN Climate Action Summit in New York on September 23.

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UNFCCC’s Climate Action and Support Trends

The report “Climate Action and Support Trends” was prepared as UN Climate Change input to the UN Climate Action Summit, and it puts a spotlight on the progress made over the past 25 years since the inception of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This, says the UN, can help in scaling up further action, as governments prepare to submit the next round of national climate action plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), by 2020.

IPCC’s Climate Change and Land (2019)

Land is already under growing human pressure and climate change is adding to these pressures. At the same time, keeping global warming to well below 2ºC can be achieved only by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors including land and food, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states in its latest report.

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The report provided key scientific input into follow-up climate and environment negotiations, such as the Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (COP14) in New Delhi, India in September and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain, in December.

UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook (2019)

UN Environment’s sixth Global Environment Outlook (2019) calls on decision makers to take immediate action to address pressing environmental issues to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals as well as other Internationally Agreed Environment Goals, such as the Paris Agreement.

By bringing together a community of hundreds of scientists, peer reviewers and collaborating institutions and partners, the GEO reports build on sound scientific knowledge to provide governments, local authorities, businesses and individual citizens with the information needed to guide societies to a truly sustainable world by 2050.

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WMO’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports on atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. The report found that levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached another new record high. According to the WMO, there is no sign of a reversal in this trend, which is driving long-term climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification and more extreme weather.

The New Climate Economy

The next two to three years are a critical window when many of the policy and investment decisions that shape the next 10 to 15 years will be taken. The New Climate Economy report found that leaders are already seizing the exciting economic and market opportunities of the new growth approach, while the laggards are not only missing out on these opportunities but are also putting us all at greater risk. More than $26 trillion and a more sustainable planet are on offer, if everyone gets on board.

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