NDCs submitted since COP 26 take less than 1% off projected global emissions in 2030.
Policies currently in place point to a 2.8°C “hike” by the end of the century.
The report estimates that to get on a least-cost pathway to limiting global warming to 2°C and 1.5°C, emissions must fall by 30% and by 45%, respectively, compared to projections based on policies currently in place.
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has published its annual Emissions Gap Report, which finds that countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs), updated since the 2021 Glasgow Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 26), make a “negligible” difference to predicted 2030 emissions and that progress since COP 26 has been “woefully inadequate.” The report calls for “a large-scale, rapid and systemic transformation across the globe” to avoid “an accelerating climate disaster.”
The report titled, ‘The Closing Window: Climate Crisis Calls for Rapid Transformation of Societies,’ warns that despite calls for strengthened climate action, NDCs submitted since COP 26 take less than 1% off projected global emissions in 2030.
This lack of progress means that the world is on a trajectory for a temperature rise “far above” the Paris Agreement goal of “well below” 2°C, preferably 1.5°C. The report emphasizes that without further strengthening, policies currently in place point to a 2.8°C “hike” by the end of the century. Implementation of the current pledges, it notes, will only bring this down to a 2.4°C temperature rise for conditional pledges and a 2.6°C increase for unconditional pledges.
We must close the emissions gap before climate catastrophe closes in on us all.
— UN Secretary-General António Guterres
The report finds that only “unprecedented” levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions over the next eight years will get the world on track to meet the Paris Agreement temperature goal. It estimates that to get on a least-cost pathway to limiting global warming to 2°C and 1.5°C, emissions must fall by 30% and by 45%, respectively, compared to projections based on policies currently in place.
The report acknowledges that such massive cuts require an urgent, system-wide transformation, and explores ways to deliver it. It argues that:
- The transformation towards zero emissions in electricity supply, industry, transportation, and buildings needs to accelerate significantly;
- Food systems can be reformed to deliver rapid and lasting cuts; and
- The financial system must become a critical enabler of transformation across all sectors by: making financial markets more efficient; introducing carbon pricing; “nudging” financial behavior; creating markets for low-carbon technology; mobilizing central banks; and setting up climate “clubs” of cooperating countries, cross-border finance initiatives, and just transformation partnerships.
“It is a tall, and some would say impossible, order to reform the global economy and almost halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but we must try,” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen at the report’s launch. “Every fraction of a degree matters…. Even if we don’t meet our 2030 goals, we must strive to get as close as possible to 1.5°C.”
The 13th edition of the report was launched on 27 October 2022, ahead of the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference. It reinforces the findings of other reports issued ahead of COP 27, including the UNFCCC’s NDC synthesis report, the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) 2022 analysis of the state of NDCs, and State of Climate Action 2022 by Systems Change Lab. [Publication: The Closing Window: Climate Crisis Calls for Rapid Transformation of Societies] [Publication Landing Page] [Executive Summary] [Key Messages] [UNEP Press Release] [UNEP Story] [UN News Story] [UN Secretary-General’s Remarks] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on 2021 Edition] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on 2020 Edition]