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UN Climate Action: “Net-zero commitments are falling far short”

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Commitments made by governments to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions are falling far short of what is required to limit climate change, according to the United Nations.

Current national climate plans – for all 193 Parties to the Paris Agreement taken together – would lead to an increase of almost 14% in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 2010 levels.

Net zero means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere, by oceans and forests for instance.

There is a growing coalition of countries, cities, businesses and other institutions pledging to get to net-zero emissions, but to date, the overall scale and robustness of plans is still insufficient.

The science shows clearly that in order to avert the worst impacts of climate change and preserve a liveable planet, global temperature increase needs to be limited to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Currently, the Earth is already about 1.1°C warmer than it was in the late 1800s, and emissions continue to rise. To keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C – as called for in the Paris Agreement – emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.

Getting to net zero requires all governments – first and foremost the biggest emitters – to significantly strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and take bold, immediate steps towards reducing emissions now.

  • Find out more about the push to reach net zero by 2050 here.

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