The revised NDC synthesis report confirms that the anticipated increase of about 16% in global GHG emissions in 2030 compared to 2010 for all the NDCs could lead to a global average temperature rise of about 2.7°C by the end of the century.
UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report finds that net-zero commitments could bring the global average temperature rise to 2.2°C – if implemented fully, timely, and effectively.
In preparation for the Glasgow Climate Change Conference (COP 26), the UNFCCC updated its synthesis of countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs). The update confirms a projected increase in global emissions in 2030 for all available NDCs, which may lead to a global average temperature rise of about 2.7°C by the end of the century. The UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report 2021 warns that while net-zero pledges could “shave off” another 0.5°C, their contribution is contingent on timely and effective implementation.
The revised NDC synthesis report (FCCC/PA/CMA/2021/8/Rev.1), released on 25 October, updates key findings of the full report (FCCC/PA/CMA/2021/8) from September. It covers “165 latest available NDCs, representing all 192 Parties to the Paris Agreement, including the 116 new or updated NDCs communicated by 143 Parties, recorded in the interim NDC registry as at 12 October 2021.” Between 30 July – the original report’s cutoff – and 12 October, 30 additional countries communicated their new or updated climate plans.
The revised synthesis confirms that while updated or new NDCs can be effective in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over time, an increase of about 16% in global GHG emissions in 2030 compared to 2010 is expected for the aggregate NDCs of all 192 Parties. Such an increase in emissions translates to a global average temperature rise of about 2.7°C by the end of the century.
“We are nowhere near where science says we should be,” cautioned UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. She urged countries to “urgently redouble their climate efforts if they are to prevent global temperature increases beyond the Paris Agreement’s goal of well below 2°C – ideally 1.5°C – by the end of the century.”
UNEP’s publication titled, ‘Emissions Gap Report 2021: The Heat Is On: A World of Climate Promises Not Yet Delivered,’ reinforces the UNFCCC’s findings. Issued ahead of COP 26 on 26 October, it warns about an emissions gap that “remains large.” Compared to previous unconditional NDCs, the new pledges for 2030, including new or updated NDCs and other 2030 commitments, reduce projected 2030 emissions by only 7.5% – far short of the 30% needed to keep the global average temperature rise to 2°C and 55% required for 1.5°C.
At the same time, the report finds that net-zero commitments “could make a big difference” by bringing the global average temperature rise to 2.2°C – if implemented fully, timely, and effectively. The Emissions Gap Report emphasizes that the pathway to net zero matters as global warming is “close to linearly proportional” to the total net amount of anthropogenic CO2 emitted in the atmosphere and the total carbon budget used. However, UNEP warns, “many of the national climate plans delay action until after 2030, raising doubts over whether net-zero pledges can be delivered.”
“Nations need to put in place the policies to meet their new commitments, and start implementing them within months,” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen, launching the report. “They need to make their net-zero pledges more concrete, ensuring these commitments are included in NDCs, and action brought forward.”
Every year, the Emissions Gap Report assesses the potential of specific sectors. This year, the report focuses on methane and market mechanisms. It finds that reducing methane emissions from fossil fuel, waste, and agriculture “can contribute to closing the emissions gap and reduce warming in the short term.”
The report acknowledges the potential of carbon markets to deliver real emissions abatement and drive ambition. However, it underscores that they can only do so “when rules are clearly defined, designed to ensure that transactions reflect actual reductions in emissions, and are supported by arrangements to track progress and provide transparency.” [Publication: Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement: Revised Synthesis Report by the Secretariat] [UNFCCC Press Release] [Publication: Emissions Gap Report 2021: The Heat Is On: A World of Climate Promises Not Yet Delivered] [Executive Summary] [Key Messages] [UNEP Press Release]