The world is heading for a catastrophe as nations fail to reduce carbon emissions, the UN’s environment agency has warned.
The agency said that there is "no credible pathway to 1.5°C in place" for 2030, and even reducing emissions to hit 1.8°C by 2050 seems unlikely.
“This report tells us in cold scientific terms what nature has been telling us all year through deadly floods, storms, and raging fires: we have to stop filling our atmosphere with greenhouse gases, and stop doing it fast," Inger Andersen, the executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said.
“We had our chance to make incremental changes, but that time is over. Only a root-and-branch transformation of our economies and societies can save us from accelerating climate disaster."
She added that "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. Every fraction of a degree matters: to vulnerable communities, to ecosystems, and to every one of us.”
Despite multiple nations pledging to reduce emissions drastically, they are still rising. Even if existing carbon-cutting policies are carried out, there will be 2.8°C of warming. Pledged policies would bring that down to 2.6°C. Funding poorer countries' pledges would bring that to 2.4°C.
The UN climate agency this week warned that such temperature rises would cause a catastrophic climate breakdown triggering irreversible changes.
UN secretary general António Guterres said that climate action was “falling pitifully short... We are headed for a global catastrophe [and] for economy-destroying levels of global heating.”
Last month, researchers found that we may have already passed five dangerous climate tipping points, including the collapse of Greenland’s ice cap. Another five could be passed at the 1.5°C target, which we are likely to miss.