LONDON • Greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 will exceed, by 12 billion to 14 billion tonnes, what is needed to keep global warming to an internationally agreed target, the United Nations said yesterday.
A day before the global Paris Agreement climate pact formally comes into force, the annual UN Environment report analysed countries' current pledges for emission cuts and whether they are enough.
It found they are not.
Emissions in 2030 are expected to reach 54 billion to 56 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, far above the 42 billion tonnes needed to have a chance of limiting global warming to 2 deg C this century.
Last year, UN Environment calculated that the gap between pledges and emissions cuts that scientists estimate are needed was up to 12 billion tonnes.
Even if all emission-cut pledges under the Paris Agreement are fully implemented, predicted 2030 emissions could put the world on track for a temperature rise of 2.9 to 3.4 deg C this century, the report said.
The Paris Agreement promises to limit global warming to "well below" 2 deg C above pre-industrial times.
"If we don't start taking additional action now, beginning with the upcoming climate meeting in Marrakesh, we will grieve over the avoidable human tragedy," Mr Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, said in a statement.
Delegates from signatory nations will meet in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh from next Monday to Nov 18 to start turning their many promises on tackling climate change into action and draw up a "rule book" for the accord reached last December and which comes into force today.
Discussions on how to disburse US$100 billion (S$139 billion) a year to poor, climate-vulnerable nations remain contentious.
Also hanging over the whole proceedings is the shadow of climate change denier Donald Trump in the United States, whose run for the White House is gathering momentum in the campaign's final days.
Referring to the the annual Conference of the Parties (COP) climate meet, Ms Liz Gallagher, senior adviser at climate think-tank E3G said: "The US presidential election will loom large over the COP."
A victory by Mr Trump, most analysts agree, could cripple the Paris deal, which the Republican candidate has said he would "cancel".
A victory by his opponent, Mrs Hillary Clinton - a vocal proponent of action on climate change - would surely trigger a huge, collective sigh of relief on day two of the 12-day conference, allowing the 15,000 attendees to get on with business.
The report said the private sector, cities and regions could reduce emissions by several billion tonnes by 2030 in areas such as agriculture and transport, as well as increased energy efficiency.
"The growing numbers of climate refugees hit by hunger, poverty, illness and conflict will be a constant reminder of our failure to deliver," Mr Solheim said.
"The science shows that we need to move much faster."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE