In the Race to Save Humanity, the World’s Nations Fail to Meet Co₂ Goals

By Melissa Reitz

More than half of the world’s nations are failing in efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions to prevent a climate catastrophe, according to a recent United Nations (UN) assessment.In the run up to the Cop26 Climate Summit in November this year, signatories to the Paris Agreement, the international treaty on climate change, were required to submit their carbon emission goals, known as an NDC, by December 2020.

But of 197 countries, only 71 have submitted their national action plans on time.

The USA and China, the planet’s largest carbon emitters, are amongst those that have not yet announced their carbon reduction goals.

In addition, the countries which have submitted pledges have not done enough, says the UN, and even if their national pledges are fulfilled, global emissions will only be reduced by 1% by 2030.

According to the goals set out in the Paris Agreement, nations pledged to keep global heating below 35.6°F (2°C) above pre-industrial levels, with a goal of a 34.7°F (1.5°C) limit over the next ten years.

Scientists have repeatedly warned that global warming above (34.7°F) 1.5°C will create irreversible and devastating consequences for the planet and humanity. To prevent this happening, we now need a 45% reduction over the next decade. But unless every nation in the world commits to reducing carbon emissions this will not be possible.

According to UN secretary general, António Guterres, 2021 is a “make-or-break” year to confront the global climate emergency. He says major emitters need to make radically more ambitious reduction targets for 2030.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has condemned nations for their “business as usual” approach in the face of the biggest crisis mankind has ever been met with.

Other major emitters that have not come forward with new plans include Indonesia, India, Iran, Canada, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. These six nations collectively contribute nearly 17% of global emissions.

The EU, Russia, Brazil, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Argentina, Mexico, Zambia and the UK are the only economies each contributing roughly 1% or more of global emissions that have submitted their targets.

“The writing is on the wall, and it has been for a long time. If governments and large corporations do not put every effort into reducing their greenhouse emissions, the planet will no longer be able to sustain us,” says Adrienne West of the Animal Survival International (formerly Political Animal Lobby). “There is simply no more time to lose. We demand that the world’s leaders do what needs to be done.”


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