Nations must drastically cut emissions or planet could warm by 3C, UN warns

The United Nations (UN) has warned that nations must drastically cut emissions or the planet could warm by 3C, ITV News Science Correspondent Martin Stew reports

The dream of keeping global warming at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels could be off course by a degree or more, as the UN urged nations to take drastic action to cut emissions.

The landmark 2015 Paris Agreement saw almost all of the countries on the planet pledge to stop global warming at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels by 2050, but this dream is quickly fading with the current trajectory predicting it will peak at 2.5-2.9C.

It warned current policies would see global warming peak at 3C and its projections already account for pledges made by several nations which are still yet to be implemented.

The report also said none of the G20 countries are reducing emissions at a pace consistent with their net-zero targets.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report was released ahead of the 2023 climate summit in Dubai.

Antarctica is experiencing unprecedented temperatures. Credit: PA

It said carbon emissions needed to be cut by 28% to keep temperatures at 2C and 42% at 1.5C.Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP, said: "There is no person or economy left on the planet untouched by climate change, so we need to stop setting unwanted records on greenhouse gas emissions, global temperature highs and extreme weather.

"We must instead lift the needle out of the same old groove of insufficient ambition and not enough action, and start setting other records: on cutting emissions, on green and just transitions and on climate finance."

The report said until the beginning of October this year, 86 days were recorded with temperatures over 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

October was the hottest ever recorded, following the hottest September, August and July - the latter of which may have seen temperatures higher than at any point in the last 120,000 years.

October was 1.7C above preindustrial levels and September was 1.8C.

So far this year, the average temperature is 1.43C higher than this pre-industrial average, making it the hottest year on record.

Last month was also the sixth consecutive month of Antarctica experiencing its lowest-ever amount of sea ice for this time of year – 11% below what it should be.

It noted that global greenhouse gas emissions increased by 1.2% from 2021 to 2022.

The report called for a quick transition away from fossil fuels and warned that the greenhouse gas emissions caused by current and planned coal, oil and gas fields would emit over 3.5 times the carbon budget available to limit warming to 1.5C.

Last week Energy Minister Graham Stuart warned the world was "badly off track" to meet its carbon emissions targets but claimed the UK had decarbonised "faster than any major economy" and has "ambitious plans".

The report also called for wealthy countries to "take more ambitious and rapid action" in providing financial assistance for developing nations to transition away from fossil fuels.

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