Syllabus subtopic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
News: A new report released by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has said that even if the present Paris Agreement commitments are met global temperatures are expected to rise by 3.2 degrees Celsius by 2030.
Prelims and Mains focus: about UNEP, findings of Emissions gap Report and its significance, challenges of climate change
Key findings of the report
- The report – UNEP’s annual Emissions Gap Report – says that unless global greenhouse emissions fall by 7.6 per cent annually between 2020 and 2030, “ the world will miss the opportunity to get on track towards the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.”
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that going beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius means the “bringing of eve wider-ranging and more destructive climate impacts” including storm and heat waves.
- The UN climate change conference is scheduled to be held in 2020 in Glasgow and will look at the Paris Agreement commitments
- G20 nations collectively account for 78 per cent of all emissions, but only five G20 members have committed to a long-term zero-emission target.
- In the short-term, developed countries will have to reduce their emissions quicker than developing countries, for reasons of fairness and equity, says the report.
- Crucially, the report says all nations must substantially increase ambition in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), as the Paris commitments are known in 2020 and follow up with policies and strategies to implement them.
- Each year, the Emissions Gap Report assesses the gap between anticipated emissions in 2030 and levels consistent with the 1.5°C and 2°C targets of the Paris Agreement.
- The report finds that greenhouse gas emissions have risen 1.5 per cent per year over the last decade Emissions in 2018, including from land-use changes such deforestation, hit a new high of 55.3 Gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent.
- To limit temperatures, annual emissions in 2030 need to be 1 Gigatonne of CO2 equivalent lower than current unconditional NDC imply for the 2°C goal; they need to be 32 Gigatonnes lower for the 1.5°C goal.
- On an annual basis, this means cuts in emissions of 7. per cent per year from 2020 to 2030 to meet the 1.5°C goal and 2.7 per cent per year for the 2°C goal.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):-
- It is an agency of United Nations and coordinates its environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices.
- It was founded by Maurice Strong, its first director, as a result of the "United Nations Conference on the Human Environment" (also known as Stockholm Conference) in June 1972
- has its headquarters in the Gigiri neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.
UNEP work encompasses:
- Assessing global, regional and national environmental conditions and trends
- Developing international and national environmental instruments
- Strengthening institutions for the wise management of the environment
Its activities cover a wide range of issues regarding the atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, environmental governance and green economy.
It has played a significant role in
- developing international environmental conventions,
- promoting environmental science and information and illustrating the way those can be implemented in conjunction with policy,
- working on the development and implementation of policy with national governments, regional institutions in conjunction with environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
- UNEP has also been active in funding and implementing environment related development projects.
- UNEP has aided in the formulation of guidelines and treaties on issues such as the international trade in potentially harmful chemicals, transboundary air pollution, and contamination of international waterways.
- The World Meteorological Organization and UNEP established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988.
- UNEP is also one of several Implementing Agencies for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the "Montreal Protocol", and it is also a member of the United Nations Development Group.