Raising ambition is key to keeping global temperature rise below 2° C

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UNEP report

A warning that if the global community does not immediately embark on wide-ranging actions to narrow the greenhouse gas emissions gap, the chance of remaining on the least-expensive path to keeping global temperature rise below 2°C this century will swiftly diminish and open the door to a host of challenges.

The Emissions Gap Report 2013—involving 44 scientific groups in 17 countries and coordinated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)— was released Tuesday as leaders prepare to meet for the latest Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Warsaw.

It finds that although pathways exist that could reach the 2°C target with higher emissions, not narrowing the gap will exacerbate mitigation challenges after 2020.

This will mean much higher rates of global emission reductions in the medium term; greater lock-in of carbon-intensive infrastructure; greater dependence on often unproven technologies in the medium term; greater costs of mitigation in the medium and long term; and greater risks of failing to meet the 2° C target.

The report acknowledges that even if nations meet their current climate pledges, greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 are likely to be 8 to 12 gigatonnes of CO2 above the level that would provide a likely chance of remaining on the least-cost pathway.

UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said "As the report highlights, delayed action means a higher rate of climate change in the near term and likely more near-term climate impacts, as well as the continued use of carbon-intensive and energy-intensive infrastructure," adding, "This 'lock-in' would slow down the introduction of climate-friendly technologies and narrow the developmental choices that would place the global community on the path to a sustainable, green future".

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration:  1’41″

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