UN Report: World’s response to rising emissions is woefully inadequate

Posted on 20 November 2023

Leaders at the climate COP28 must agree a dramatic course-correction to close the gap between what is being done and what science says must be done. This must include agreement to phase out fossil fuels. The summit starts next week in Dubai.

GLAND (Switzerland) 20 November 2023 - The world is woefully off track to keeping global emissions to the level needed to hold warming to 1.5°C. Only ‘relentless mitigation and low carbon transitions’ will help narrow the gap, according to the UNEP’s 2023 Emissions Gap Report, published today.


Current climate action pledges by countries put the world on track for 2.5°C - 2.9 °C temperature rise this century. A minimum 42% cut in emissions by 2030 necessary to achieve the 1.5°C pathway set out in the Paris climate treaty. 


Greenhouse gas emissions increased by 1.2% from 2021 to 2022, reaching a new record of 57.4 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent, and emission trends continue to reflect global patterns of inequality. Mitigation efforts implied in current national policies, at today's continued levels of emissions, would limit global warming to 3°C this century, according to the report.


The phase out of fossil fuels has to be at the centre of climate actions now. Coal, oil, and gas extracted over the lifetime of current producing and planned mines and fields would emit more than 3.5 times the carbon budget available to limit warming to 2.5°C, and almost the entire carbon budget available for a 2°C pathway.


Responding to the findings, Dr Stephen Cornelius, WWF Global Deputy Climate and Energy Lead, said: "The Emissions Gap report underscores how woefully inadequate the world's response has been to the escalating challenge of rising emissions and climate change. The COP28 climate summit must provide the dramatic course-correction to reset climate ambition and action in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Central to this is agreement to phase out fossil fuels. Leaders will fail the people of the world if they do not do everything possible to change the trajectory we are on."


For further information, contact Robin Harvey rharvey@wwfint.org

First gas from the Oselvar module on the Ula platform, Norway, April 2012.
© Varodrig /Wikipedia