UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2017

31-10-2017 | Publication

Governments and non-state actors need to deliver an urgent increase in ambition to ensure the Paris Agreement goals can still be met according to 2017 annual Emissions Gap report by UNEP. Researchers of PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency were among the leading authors of this study.

The gap between the reductions needed and the national pledges made in Paris is high

The successful Paris Agreement has generated and incentivized action at scale by both governments and the private sector. Nevertheless, it marks only a beginning. The NDCs that form the foundation of the Paris Agreement cover only approximately one third of the emissions reductions needed to be on a least cost pathway for the goal of staying well below 2°C. The 2°C emissions gap for the full implementation of both the conditional and unconditional NDCs for 2030 is 11 to 13.5 GtCO2e. The gap in the case of the 1.5°C target is 16 to 19 GtCO2e.

Global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise slowly

Global CO2 emissions from energy and industry have remained stable since 2014, but overall greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise slowly. Global greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 are likely to be at the high end of the range of the scenarios consistent with the 2°C and 1.5°C goals respectively, making it increasingly difficult to be on track to meet the 2030 emission goals.

Action by subnational and non-state actors is key to enhance future ambition

Action by subnational and non-state actors, including regional and local governments and businesses, is key to enhancing future ambition. There is still limited evidence that non-state action will fill a significant part of the emissions gap, although there is significant potential for it to do so. Enhanced monitoring and reporting of non-state actions and the resulting emissions reductions be will be essential to making pledged actions transparent and credible.

Emissions gap can be closed before 2030 by adopting cost-effective technologies

A systematic assessment of sectoral mitigation options shows that the gap can be closed before 2030 by adopting already known and cost-effective technologies, often by simply adopting or adapting best practice examples already deployed in the most innovative country contexts. The global emissions could be reduced by up to 30 to 40 GtCO2e per annum, with costs below US$100/tCO2e. It is remarkable that a large part of this potential comes from just six relatively standardized categories: solar and wind energy, efficient appliances, efficient passenger cars, afforestation and stopping deforestation.