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| Last Updated:12/09/2020

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UN raises ceiling for greenhouse gas pollution


The Hindu , New Delhi, 9th November, 2015


UNEP says the world can still reach the 2-degree target with emissions of 52 billion tons by 2020


The U.N.’s environmental authority has quietly raised its assessment of the level at which global greenhouse gas emissions must peak to avoid dangerous climate change, as governments seek a new accord to fight global warming.


In its first four annual emissions reports in 2010-2013, the UN Environment Program said emissions must not exceed 44 billion tons in 2020 for the world to limit global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F). But with real-world emissions rising far beyond that level, UNEP has since last year downplayed its focus on 2020 as a make-or-break year for emissions reductions.


In this year’s Emissions Gap report, a summary of which was released Friday, UNEP says the world can still reach the 2-degree target with emissions of 52 billion tons by 2020, which is just slightly below today’s level. The new analysis assumes that emissions cuts will drop faster after 2030 than was assumed in previous reports.


Explaining the change, UNEP chief scientist Jacqueline McGlade said earlier assessments weren’t wrong, but were based on emissions scenarios that are “no longer realistic.”


Critics said the change reflects political pressure to show the 2-degree goal is still feasible as governments work on the U.N. climate agreement that’s supposed to be adopted in Paris next month.


“The emissions gap report gives the questionable impression that despite increasing emissions there’s always a way to reach the 2C target,” said Oliver Geden, of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin.


The 2-degree target was adopted in U.N. climate talks in 2010. Two degrees of warming compared with pre-industrial times, is widely seen as a level where climate change becomes unmanageable, with fast-rising sea levels, intensifying droughts and other impacts.AP