UNEP Emissions Gap report 2021

New and updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) only take an additional 7.5% off projected 2030 emissions of greenhouse gases. The latest emission reduction pledges for 2030 would result in a global temperature rise of at least 2.7 °C by the end of this century. So-called net-zero commitments could limit global temperature rise by another 0.5 °C, if they were made robust and if 2030 pledges were made consistent with these commitments. These are some of the main conclusions from the 2021 Emissions Gap Report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), to which PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency contributed.

New NDCs could lead to a global temperature increase of at least 2.7°C by 2100

As of 30 September 2021, 120 countries, representing just over half of global greenhouse gas emissions, had communicated new or updated NDCs. To limit global warming to 1.5 °C with a 66% chance of success, the world needs to reduce an additional 28 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalents (GtCO2e) in annual emissions by 2030, over and above what is pledged in updated unconditional NDCs. For the well-below 2 °C target in the Paris Agreement, the required emission reduction is lower, namely 13 GtCO2e by 2030.

Net-zero commitments could reduce global temperature increase by another 0.5 °C

A total of 49 countries plus the EU have pledged a net-zero target, meaning that their contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions should be net-zero by 2050 or shortly thereafter. This covers over half of global domestic greenhouse gas emissions, over half of GDP and a third of the global population. Eleven targets are enshrined in law, covering 12% of global emissions. If implemented effectively, net-zero targets could reduce global warming by about another 0.5 °C.


PBL Authors
Michel den Elzen
Other authors
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)


Publication title
UNEP Emissions Gap report 2021
Publication date
26 October 2021
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