Green pandemic recovery essential to close climate action gap, according to the 2020 edition of UNEP’s annual Emissions Gap Report. A green pandemic recovery could cut up to 25 per cent off projected 2030 emissions and bring the world closer to meeting the 2°C goal. PBL contributed to this study.
Green pandemic recovery essential to close climate action gap
A green pandemic recovery could cut up to 25% off predicted 2030 greenhouse gas emissions and bring the world closer to achieving the target of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to keep global warming well below 2 °C. A pandemic-related decrease in emissions of up to 7% in 2020 will have a negligible impact on climate change. If governments invest in climate action as part of the pandemic recovery efforts and solidify emerging net-zero commitments with strengthened pledges at the next climate meeting — to take place in Glasgow in November 2021 — emissions can be brought down to levels broadly consistent with the 2 °C target.
Due to the pandemic, emissions decrease by 7% in 2020 - impact on long-term global warming negligible
Each year, the Emissions Gap Report assesses the gap between anticipated emissions and levels consistent with the Paris Agreement targets of limiting global warming this century to well below 2 °C and pursuing 1.5 °C. The report finds that, in 2019, total greenhouse gas emissions, including land-use change, reached a new high of 59.1 gigatons of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e). Annual global greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 1.4% since 2010, on average, with a more rapid increase of 2.6% in 2019 due to a large increase in forest fires.
As a result of less travel, lower industrial activity and lower electricity generation this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, carbon dioxide emissions are predicted to decrease by up to 7% in 2020. However, this dip has a negligible impact of global warming by 2050. Meanwhile, the emission gap has not been narrowed compared to last year and is, as yet, unaffected by COVID-19. The NDCs, thus, remain inadequate to achieve the Paris Agreement climate goals.