Experts fear an almost inevitable rebound in carbon emissions after a massive slowdown in industrial activities.
Earth remains on track to warm to above 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century despite a drop in greenhouse gas emissions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A new report released Wednesday by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) found that the 7% drop in carbon pollution this year would have a “negligible impact” on global warming without a broad and rapid abandonment of global warming. fossil fuels.
The Emissions Gap report analyzes the gap between the actions required under the Paris Agreement on climate change and the emission reductions currently planned by countries.
The report found that a “green recovery” from the pandemic, in which emerging net zero promises are accelerated, could cut emissions by 25% by 2030.
This would bring the world closer to the levels required to limit warming to 2 ° C (3.6 ° F), as stipulated in Paris.
With just over 1 ° C (1.8 ° F) of warming since pre-industrial times, Earth is already experiencing stronger and more frequent droughts, forest fires and super-storms made more deadly by the rise seas.
“2020 is on track to be one of the hottest on record, as forest fires, storms and droughts continue to wreak havoc,” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.
She said Wednesday’s report showed that recovery from a green pandemic “can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help slow climate change.”
UNEP said last year that emissions must fall 7.6% per year until 2030 in order to maintain the more ambitious Paris temperature target of 1.5 ° C (2.7 ° F).
While 2020 is expected to see emissions fall globally in line with that figure, it took an unprecedented slowdown in industry, travel and manufacturing to get there.
Experts say a rebound in carbon emissions is almost inevitable in 2021. Last week, the UN said countries plan to increase fossil fuel production by two percent each year this decade.
To limit the warming to 1.5 ° C (2.7 ° F), he said oil, gas and coal production instead needs to drop 6% each year.
Wednesday’s assessment found that emissions in 2019, a year scientists still hope will represent a peak in annual carbon pollution, amounted to 59.1 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent.
This is an increase of 2.6% from 2018, largely due to an increase in forest fires, UNEP said.
He said the reduction in travel, industrial activity and power generation due to the pandemic would lead to a 7% drop in emissions from last year.