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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

UN: Global GHG Emissions Must Fall by 43% by 2030


Mon 04 Apr 2022 | 09:35 PM
Ahmed Emam

On Monday, April 4, 2022, the United Nations’ climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released the third installment of its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).

The report conducted by the IPCC Working Group III (WG-III) sheds light on the mitigation of climate change, ie., the solutions necessary to halt global warming.

The full report, entitled "Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change", highlights the latest scientific research from across the world and extends to thousands of pages.

Here are six takeaways from the SPM:

The report showed that Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 54 percent higher in 2019 than they were in 1990, but growth is still slowing.

In 2019, global net anthropogenic GHG emissions were at 59 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e), 54 percent higher than in 1990. Net emissions refer to emissions accounted for after deducting emissions soaked up by the world’s forests and oceans, the report said.

Anthropogenic emissions refer to emissions that originate from human-driven activities like the burning of coal for energy or the cutting of forests. This emissions growth has been driven mainly by CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and the industrial sector, as well as methane emissions.

But the average annual rate of growth slowed to 1.3 percent per year in the period 2010-19, compared to 2.1 percent per year in the period 2000-09. At least 18 countries have reduced GHG emissions for longer than 10 years on a continuous basis due to the decarbonization of their energy system, energy efficiency measures, and reduced energy demand.

The new estimate noted that the least developed countries emitted only 3.3 percent of global emissions in 2019.

However, all the news isn’t positive. Carbon inequality remains pervasive as ever with Least Developed Countries (LDCs) emitting only 3.3 percent of global emissions in 2019. Their average per capita emissions in the period 1990-2019 were only 1.7 tonnes of CO2e, compared to the global average of 6.9 tCO2e.

LDCs contributed less than 0.4 percent of total historical CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry in the period 1850-2019. Globally, 41 percent of the world’s population lived in countries emitting less than 3 tCO2e per capita in 2019, the report revealed.

According to the UN's new study, pledges to the Paris Agreement are insufficient, emissions must fall 43 percent by 2030 compared to 2019.

Current pledges made by countries that have inked the Paris Agreement are known as "Nationally Determined Contributions" (NDCs). Upon adding up the NDCs announced by countries till October 2021, the IPCC finds that it is likely that warming will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius (°C) in this century, thereby failing the Paris Agreement’s mandate.

The CO2 emissions from existing and planned fossil fuel infrastructure — coal, oil, and gas — contribute greatly to this projected failure. In its best-case scenario, known as the C1 pathway, the IPCC outlines what the world needs to do to limit temperatures to 1.5 °C, with limited or no ‘overshoot’.

Overshoot refers to global temperatures crossing the 1.5 °C threshold temporarily, but then being brought back down using technologies that suck CO2 out of the atmosphere.

In conclusion, the latest report of the UN recommended that in order to achieve the C1 pathway, global GHG emissions must fall by 43 percent by 2030 compared to 2019 levels, amounting to 31 GtCO2e in 2030. Moreover, the use of coal, oil, and gas must decline by 95 percent, 60 percent, and 45 percent by 2050 compared to 2019.