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UNEP Report: Closing the Emissions Gap Increasingly Unlikely

UNEP5 November 2013: Ahead of the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 19), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has released the '2013 Emissions Gap Report,' which involved 44 scientific groups in 17 countries. The emissions gap in 2020 is the difference between emission levels in 2020 consistent with meeting climate targets, and levels expected in that year if country pledges and commitments are met.

The report presents the latest estimates of the emissions gap in 2020 and provides information about: current (2010) and projected (2020) levels of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, both in the absence of additional policies and consistent with national pledge implementation; the implications of starting decided emission reductions now or in the coming decades; agricultural development policies that can help increase yields, reduce fertilizer usage and bring about other benefits, while reducing emissions of GHG; and international cooperative initiatives that, while potentially overlapping with pledges, can complement them and help bridge the emissions gap.

This 2013 edition confirms and strengthens the conclusions of the three previous editions of the Emissions Gap Report that current pledges and commitments fall short of closing the emissions gap, implying that the world will have to rely on more difficult, costlier and riskier means after 2020 of keeping the global average temperature increase below 2° C. It further stresses that if the emissions gap is not closed, or significantly narrowed, by 2020, the door to many options limiting the temperature increase to 1.5° C at the end of this century will be closed.

Reacting to the report, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said it showed that both international and national action are essential for the world to stay below the agreed maximum 2°C temperature rise. [EU Memo] [UNEP Press Release] [Publication: 2013 Emissions Gap Report]