Bridging the Emissions Gap
Cutting emissions by 2020 to a level that could keep a global, 21st century temperature rise under two degrees Celsius is technologically and economically feasible, according to a comprehensive study by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), to which the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency has also contributed.
Bridging the emissions gap to meet the 2 °C target is doable
Cutting emissions by 2020 to a level that could keep a global, 21st century temperature rise under two degrees Celsius is technologically and economically feasible.
Accelerated uptake of renewable energy, fuel switching and energy efficiency improvements can deliver a large slice of the necessary cuts. Other measures include sectoral improvements, ranging from increased penetration of public transport and more fuel efficient vehicles to those in areas, such as agriculture and waste management.
The report cites aviation and shipping as a special but important case, as currently these ‘international emissions’ fall outside the Kyoto Protocol (the emission reduction treaty). Options for reducing emissions from both these sectors include improving fuel efficiency and using low-carbon fuels. For the shipping sector, another promising and simple option would be to reduce ship speeds.
The report presents policymakers with clear ideas on how to bridge the emissions gap by 2020, which, as a result of improved modelling from last year’s assessment, is now estimated, under the most optimistic scenarios, to be 6 rather than 5 Gt CO2 equivalent.
In addition, this study outlines far more pessimistic scenarios, if the commitments and pledges of developed countries, including levels of financing amounting to USD 100 billion a year by 2020 and the intentions of developing additional pledges, are not fully realised – in which case the gap, by 2020, could be 11 Gt CO2 equivalent. Under business-as-usual conditions, this could even go up to 12 Gt CO2 equivalent.
This report forms an important input for the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will be held in Durban from 28 November to 9 December 2011.
- Download the emission gap report 2010 (PDF, 1 MB)
- Bridging the Emissions Gap: A UNEP Synthesis Report
|Author(s)||United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)|