- The “State of Climate Action 2023” paints a sobering picture of the challenges policymakers face as they prepare for the COP28 climate change summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
- Like much of the discourse on climate action, the 2015 Paris Agreement looms large in the analysis.
- “Global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C are weak at best,” said Sophie Boehm of the World Resources Institute.
A coal-fired power plant in Indonesia.
Aditya Aji | AFP | Getty Images
Efforts to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius are failing “in every way” – and big changes will be needed to create meaningful change, according to a new report, including a much faster shift away from coal use to generate electricity.
Published on Tuesday, the “State of Climate Action 2023” paints a worrying picture of the challenges policymakers face as they prepare for the COP28 climate change summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, at the end of November.
Like much of the discourse on climate action, the 2015 Paris Agreement – which aims to “limit global warming to well below 2, preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared with pre-industrial levels” – is of great importance in the analysis.
Tuesday’s report takes that 1.5-degree goal and develops targets for 2030 and 2050 that align with it. The overall findings are stark, with only one of the 42 indicators – electric passenger car sales – on track to meet its 2030 target.
The UN has previously noted that 1.5 degrees Celsius is seen as “the upper limit” when it comes to avoiding the worst consequences of climate change.
“Global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C are weak at best,” said Sophie Boehm, lead author of the report and a research associate at the World Resources Institute, in a statement.
“Despite decades of dire warnings and cries of caution, our leaders have failed to mobilize climate action at anywhere near the pace and scale needed,” Boehm added.
“Such delays leave us with very few routes to ensure a livable future for all. There is no time left to move the limits,” she said.
“Instead, we need immediate transformational change across all sectors this decade.”
With this in mind, the report’s authors propose a series of measures that need to be taken if climate goals are to be achieved. They include:
- Phase out coal from electricity production at a rate seven times faster than now. This, the report says, “is equivalent to decommissioning around 240 medium-sized coal-fired power plants every year until 2030”.
- Drive the growth of wind and solar energy.
- Increase the speed at which rapid transit infrastructure is expanded.
- Move towards healthier, more sustainable diets eight times faster.
- Reduce the annual rate of deforestation four times faster this decade.
“We already know what needs to be done, sector by sector, by 2030,” said Ani Dasgupta, president and CEO of WRI.
“The world has made some progress – in some cases, exponential progress – but overall we are lagging behind, with several trends moving quickly in the wrong direction,” he added.
“It will take drastic action from all of us – governments, businesses, cities – to embrace the systemic change needed to create a livable and prosperous future for people, nature and the climate.”
Tuesday’s report — a “joint effort” by WRI, Bezos Earth Fund, ClimateWorks Foundation, Climate Action Tracker and the United Nations High-Level Champions on Climate Change — was published the same day the United Nations on Climate Change Climáticas released its own assessment of the current situation. game state.
According to the NDC Synthesis Report, governments around the world are not doing enough to prevent the worst effects of climate change and need to be more proactive in their attempts to reduce emissions.
Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, refer to each country’s goals to reduce emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.
All countries that are part of the Paris Agreement must update their NDCs every five years.
Targets need to be raised regularly to meet the agreement’s overall goal of limiting global warming.
Simon Stiell, UN executive secretary for climate change, said his report shows that “governments combined are taking small steps to avoid the climate crisis”.
“And it shows why governments must take bold steps at COP28 in Dubai, to get on the right path,” he argued. “This means that COP28 must be a clear turning point.”
“Governments must not only agree on the strongest climate actions to take, but also start showing exactly how to implement them.”