UNEP Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report Finds Climate Change Goals Growing More Elusive

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/23/unep-greenhouse-gas-emissions_n_2179270.html

By Wynne Parry

Global greenhouse-gas emissions already have passed the point where the worst effects of global warming could be averted, and they are still rising, according to the third annual United Nations report on the so-called emissions gap.

Some countries have made pledges to help reverse this trend by lowering their emissions. However, the report by the U.N. Environment Programme warns that the gap between these pledges and reductions necessary to cap average global warming at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2020 continues to widen.

“In addition we have one year less to close it,” said Niklas Höhne, one of the UNEP report’s lead authors.

The report, released shortly before an annual round of climate talks set to begin on Monday (Nov. 26) in Qatar, seeks to balance a heightened sense of urgency with a positive message.

“It is technically feasible and economically feasible that the gap can be closed,” Höhne, director of energy and climate policy at the independent research and consulting company Ecofys, told LiveScience.

The math

In 2009, at a meeting in Copenhagen, international negotiators agreed to the goal of capping global warming at 2 degrees C by 2020. Following the meeting, some nations submitted pledges to cut their emissions. The United States, for example, pledged to bring its emissions to about 17 percent below the 2005 level.

In the years since, nations have not made any substantial change to their pledges.

The UNEP report highlights the gap between these pledges and cuts needed put the world on a “likely” path to stay below the 2-degree target. It calculates that the annual emission rate by 2020 should be no more than  48.5 gigatons (44 metric gigatons) of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. [8 Ways Global Warming Is Already Changing the World]

Complete article at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/23/unep-greenhouse-gas-emissions_n_2179270.html

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