By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Countries across the globe have been urged to cut global emissions by 45 per cent by year 2030 as a measure aimed at addressing rise in temperatures.
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, made the call in response to the prediction by World Meteorological Organization (WMO) forecasting “a 20 per cent probability that temperatures will temporarily exceed 1.5•C as early as 2024.”
WMO wrote in a Press release dated 15th January that the past six years have been the warmest on record since 1880, with 2016, 2019 and 2020 being the top three, adding that the year 2020 was 1.2°C above pre-industrial era (1880) temperatures.
“The speed at which temperatures are increasing is alarming,” Pascal Peduzzi, Director, GRID-Geneva, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said. “At this rate, we may reach +1.5°C in the next 15 years.”
According to the Paris Agreement, Member States committed to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels. Every country signing up to the agreement set out a target, known as a nationally determined contribution (NDC) for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by around 2030.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said in a news statement dated 4th February 2021:”In January this year, António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, said 2021 was a critical year for climate, calling for multilateral action. He urged Member States to submit Nationally Determined Contributions to cut global emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 compared with 2010 levels; donors and multilateral development banks to increase the share of adaptation finance from 20 to at least 50 per cent by 2024, and developed countries to fulfil their pledge to mobilize $100 billion annually for climate action in developing countries.”
Guterres also said it was time to stop building new coal power plants and end subsidies to fossil fuels.
UNEP disclosed that global warming and climate change will be key topics of discussion at the fifth session of the UNEP-hosted UN Environment Assembly this month.
“The world’s highest environmental decision-making body brings together representatives of the 193 Member States of the UN, businesses leaders, civil society and environmentalists from around the world,” UNEP highlighted.
Emphasizing on the growing momentum for action, the environmental protection agency pointed out that in year 2020 the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased 2.57 parts per million (ppm) reaching 4.14 ppm in December, the highest concentration on record.
It said carbon-dioxide is the principal greenhouse gas, though methane and nitrous oxide, much more potent greenhouse gases, are also causing global warming.
As temperatures rise, so is the global momentum to address climate change, the UN organ stated.
According to it, in the world’s largest survey of public opinion on climate change, conducted recently, a majority of people called for wide-ranging climate action.
Covering 50 countries with over half of the world’s population, the survey included over half a million people under the age of 18, a key constituency on climate change that is typically unable to vote in regular elections.
UNEP declared: “The speed at which temperatures are increasing is alarming. At this rate, we may reach +1.5°C in the next 15 years.”