Global warming exceeds UN target

  • 02/10/2015

Earth is on track for average warming of 2.7degC by 2100, higher than the UN target, according to an analysis of country pledges for curbing climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.

While exceeding the UN goal of limiting overall warming to 2degC over pre-Industrial Revolution levels, the figure, released yesterday, was an improvement on the 3.1degC forecast issued in September by Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a tool developed by a quartet of research bodies.

Thursday was the informal deadline for countries to submit emissions pledges, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs, which will form the backbone of a universal climate rescue pact to be inked in Paris in December.

Some 140 countries representing nearly 80 percent of global emissions have submitted their plans so far, including major polluters China, the United States and the 28-member European Union.

"The INDCs still produce... global warming well above the 2degC limit set by the global community," said a CAT statement.

"This reflects the less than sufficient climate targets submitted by many governments", though still a "significant improvement" of 0.4degC from the last estimate.

The latest forecast includes estimated numbers for India, the world's fourth-largest greenhouse gas polluter - extrapolated from public statements as the country has not yet filed a formal contribution.

To get on the path to 2degC, annual greenhouse gas emissions would have to be 11-13 billion tonnes lower in 2025 than pledged, said the CAT, and 15-17 billion tonnes lower in 2030.

Based on pledges to date, emissions would be 52-54 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e) in 2025 and 53-55 (GtCO2e) in 2030 - more than today's estimated 48 GtCO2e per year.

It was "not very likely" that submissions by countries which have not yet filed their pledges would get us to 2degC, Bill Hare of Climate Analytics, a CAT contributor, told AFP.