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UN report: Our climate targets are not ambitious enough

Tuesday 26 Nov 19


John M. Christensen
Director of UNEP DTU Partnership
DTU Management
+45 45 33 53 00

Emissions Gap Report

The Emissions Gap Report is prepared by an international team of leading climate researchers and is published to inform decision makers and support climate summit discussions. It provides a scientifically based assessment of global greenhouse gas emissions and describes strategies and technologies which can limit and reduce emissions.

About 50 researchers from all over the world contribute to the report, which is a so-called assessment report summarizing the latest relevant climate research.

The report is published by the United Nations Environment Programme and is coordinated by UNEP DTU Partnership.

See Emissions Gap Report 2019

See Emissions Gap Report 2019 Executive Summary

In a new Emissions Gap Report, the UN warns that global CO2 emissions are still increasing even though the countries have pledged to reduce them.

Global greenhouse gas emissions must decrease by more than seven per cent every year from 2020 to 2030 to put the world back on track in terms of limiting temperature increases to 1.5°C and minimizing the negative impacts on people, planet, and prosperity. This is argued in the UN’s tenth Emissions Gap Report, released on 26 November.

Each year, the Emissions Gap Report—one of the most important publications of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)—assesses the difference between projected emissions in 2030 and the levels in accordance with the targets in the Paris Agreement.

The UNEP DTU Partnership coordinates the drafting of the report, and Director John Christensen and several other DTU experts are among the main authors of the report.

“If we’re to realize the ambitions from Paris of staying below 1.5 degrees warming at the end of this century, we must more than halve greenhouse gas emissions globally by 2030,” he says about the findings in the report.

Heading towards 3.2 degrees

The Emissions Gap Report presents the latest science on global climate action and highlights three main points:

  • We are heading towards a temperature increase of 3.2 degrees if you look at what the countries of the world have pledged to do for the time being.
  • Reduction targets must be at least quintupled to bridge the gap and meet the targets of the Paris Agreement.
  • But we have the solutions needed. There are technologies that can drastically reduce the emissions, but they must be taken into use now, and changes must concurrently be made to the way in which the supply systems work.
"Our collective lack of early and effective action against climate change means that we now have to reduce emissions by more than seven per cent every year."
Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP

“The required reductions can only be achieved if the energy sector and a large part of the transport sector globally convert towards increased electrification, with the electricity being supplied by renewable energy sources. The good news is that as wind power and solar energy have become the cheapest sources of power, the main challenges will be to design and implement an integrated, decentralized electricity system,” says John Christensen and adds that the new Danish national target of a reduction of 70 per cent by 2030 fits into this ambition well.

However, it will require large-scale initiatives and great commitment from all the countries worldwide. Major social and economic transformations will be required in the next decade to compensate for the passivity of the past, warns the report.

“Our collective lack of early and effective action against climate change means that we now have to reduce emissions by more than seven per cent every year if we break this reduction down evenly over the next decade,” says Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.

“It may seem shocking and perhaps also impossible. But we’ll have to try.”

UNEP DTU Partnership

UNEP DTU Partnership is a leading international research institution in energy, climate, and sustainable development located in the UN City in Copenhagen. The partnership is collaborating with developing countries worldwide on climate adjustment, reduction of CO2 emissions, and implementation of green technology focused on meeting goals number 7 on green energy and number 13 on climate action in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This is—in particular—achieved through work targeted at integrating the countries’ climate goals and commitments to the Paris Agreement—the so-called Nationally Determined Contributions—in national development strategies.
The UNEP DTU Partnership is an integral part of DTU Management and was established in 1990 as a collaboration between the United Nations Environment Programme, DTU, and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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