Current NDCs are not demonstrating the rapid decline in GHG emissions necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
At the same time, countries are starting to aim for net-zero emissions, as evidenced by 62 long-term low-emission development strategies synthesized by the UNFCCC.
“COP 27 is the moment where global leaders can regain momentum on climate change [and] make the necessary pivot from negotiations to implementation,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell.
The UNFCCC’s second synthesis of countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on climate change finds that while countries are bending the curve of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions downward, their combined climate pledges could put the world on track for around 2.5°C of warming by the end of the century. At the same time, a UNFCCC synthesis of countries’ long-term low-emission development strategies (LEDS) sends a “strong signal” that the world is starting to aim for net-zero emissions.
The NDC synthesis report (FCCC/PA/CMA/2022/4) integrates information from the 166 latest available NDCs communicated by 193 parties to the Paris Agreement and recorded in the NDC registry as at 23 September 2022. These include 24 updated or new NDCs submitted after the 2021 Glasgow Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 26). Together, these contributions cover 94.9% of total global GHG emissions in 2019.
The report finds current commitments will increase emissions by 10.6% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. While this is an improvement over last year’s assessment, which indicated emissions were on a path to increase by 13.7% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels, these efforts are insufficient to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels by century’s end.
Unlike last year’s analysis, the 2022 report shows that emissions are no longer expected to increase after 2030. However, they are not demonstrating the rapid decline necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), GHG emissions need to be cut 43% by 2030, compared to 2019 levels to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
“We are still nowhere near the scale and pace of emission reductions required to put us on track toward a 1.5 degrees Celsius world. To keep this goal alive, national governments need to strengthen their climate action plans now and implement them in the next eight years,” urged UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell.
At the same time, there are “glimmers of hope,” a UNFCCC press release notes. A UNFCCC synthesis of long-term low-emission development strategies (FCCC/PA/CMA/2022/8) suggests the world is starting to set net-zero targets. Communicated by 62 countries, current LEDS account for 83% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), 47% of global population in 2019, and around 69% of total energy consumption in 2019.
However, the LEDS synthesis warns that many net-zero targets “remain uncertain and postpone into the future critical action that needs to take place now.”
“COP 27 is the moment where global leaders can regain momentum on climate change, make the necessary pivot from negotiations to implementation and get moving on the massive transformation that must take place throughout all sectors of society to address the climate emergency,” said Stiell.
The UNFCCC Secretariat issued the two reports on 26 October 2022, two weeks before the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 27) kicks off in Egypt. [Publication: Nationally Determined Contributions Under the Paris Agreement: Synthesis Report by the Secretariat] [Publication: Long-term Low-emission Development Strategies. Synthesis Report by the Secretariat]