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UNEP Releases 2012 Emissions Gap Report, Recommends Emissions Cuts from Key Sectors

UNEP21 November 2012: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the European Climate Foundation have released the 2012 “Emissions Gap Report,” detailing that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are currently approximately 14% greater than where they need to be in 2020. The report states that keeping the average global temperature rise below 2°C is possible, with large emissions reductions from buildings, transportation and avoided deforestation.

According to the Report, previous assessments have conclude that average emissions need to be around 44 Gt or less in 2020, to lay the path for the even greater required reductions. According to the Report's analysis, however, even in the case that the most ambitious level of pledges and commitments were implemented by all countries, under strict rules, a gap of 8 Gt of CO2 equivalent would exist by 2020. This is 2Gt higher than the 2011 Emissions Gap Report.

The report highlights sectors where GHG emissions may be significantly reduced. These include: improved energy efficiency in industry, which could deliver cuts between 1.5-4.6 Gt of C02 equivalent; agriculture, with potential GHG reductions between 1.1-4.3 Gt; forestry, with between 1.3-4.2 Gt of potential GHG reductions; the power sector, where reductions between 2.2-3.9 Gt are possible; buildings emissions, with the potential for between 1.4-2.9 Gt; the transportation sector, including shipping and aviation, where between 1.7-2.5 Gt of emission reductions are possible; and the waste sector with potential reductions of 0.8 Gt. The report also highlights the importance of avoided deforestation as a low-cost emissions reduction option. [Publication: The Emissions Gap Report 2012] [UNEP Press Release]