Swedish activist Greta Thunberg laments lack of progress countries are making on promised emissions cuts

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg highlights lack of progress countries making on promised emissions cuts ahead of UN General Assembly.
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg highlights lack of progress countries making on promised emissions cuts ahead of UN General Assembly. Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has posted on Twitter lamenting the lack of progress countries are making on their promised emissions cuts.

Thunberg, who has over five million followers on Twitter, shared an article from the New York Times headlined ‘United Nations warns of 'Catastrophic Pathway' with current climate pledges’. 

She pulled a quote from the story that says, “The global average temperature will rise 2.7 degrees Celsius by century’s end even if all countries meet their promised emissions cuts.”

Thunberg then said, “And we're of course far from reaching even these highly insufficient targets. How long will we let this madness go on?”

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate, countries are required to submit details of their plans to cut greenhouse emissions, called "Nationally Determined Contributions," or NDCs, to the UN, which then calculates their total impact. 

Nearly 200 countries have made voluntary pledges to reduce or slow down emissions of planet-warming gases under the Paris Agreement.

In 2017 it was revealed that New Zealand would spend $1.4 billion every year for a decade to meet that agreement but we are currently struggling to reach the agreed standard and are considered to have one of the worst climate records of industrialised nations. 

Of 43 industrialised countries — known as Annex 1 countries — 31 are experiencing a drop in emissions. But 12 have seen net emissions increase between 1990 and 2018, and New Zealand is near the top of this group.

The United Nations released a report on Friday saying that the 2.7 degree celsius increase will likely worsen extreme wildfires, droughts and floods. 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the report shows that “the world is on a catastrophic pathway” according to the New York Times.

The report highlighted the dramatic increase in planet warning gases and emissions are poised to grow by 16 percent during this decade compared with 2010 levels, even as the latest scientific research indicates that they need to decrease by at least a quarter by 2030 to avert the worst impacts of global warming.

Guterres will likely raise the topic at the UN General Assembly which is scheduled to start on Tuesday and last for over a week.

 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was scheduled to attend the conference in New York, which would've been her first overseas trip since the pandemic began but the latest outbreak has scrapped those plans.