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COP 26 Limiting the rise in average global temperature

The agreement in Paris in 2015 to limit the average global temperature rise to below 2 C, and preferably below 1.5 C, was aimed to avoid irreversible changes in climate and biodiversity on which our lives depend. The Parties to this agreement, agreed to develop and submit national declared contributions (NDCs) which would result in actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) until net zero was reached by 2050.

An analysis released by the UN Environmental Programme in the week prior to the COP 26 Conference concludes that “ current pledges would reduce carbon emissions by only 7% this decade compared with 47% cut required to limit climate change”. This is primarily due to countries not undertaking sufficient actions, soon enough, to limit GHG emissions. Immediate actions were required now rather than in the future or else the average global temperature could rise well above the limit agreed in Paris.

What needs to be done

Some 120 countries have submitted their updated NDCs so far, but those missing include some of the biggest emitters. Only 40% of the 120 countries have pledged to reduce GHG emissions to zero by 2050. Hopefully the Conference will convince countries that they need to review their policies and actions now or else we will all suffer, developed as well as developing, countries. Prevention is much more effective than subsequent mitigation while doing too little, too late is simply not an option.

Give life a chance

Laurent Fabius who chaired the Paris conference has reminded us that in his opening statement to this conference, he said “ All of us know that combatting global warming is more than just an environmental matter. It is an essential condition to give sustainable development and life on earth a chance ….. “
[UNEP Emissions gap report 2021]



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