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Countries’ emissions pledges still fall short of global climate goals, UN says By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: This photo shows a maize plant amongst other maize in Hoopstad (a maize-producing area in South Africa’s Free State Province, South Africa), January 13, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko


By Kate Abnett

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Countries’ latest pledges to cut emissions would fail to avert catastrophic climate change, the United Nations said on Friday, as pressure grows on polluters including China and India to set more ambitious targets before the COP26 summit in November.

The U.N. COP26 conference aims at securing more ambitious climate actions from nearly 200 countries that signed the 2015 Paris Agreement. They have agreed to reduce human-caused global warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius.

U.N. analyses on Friday showed that global emission levels would rise by 16% in 2030 if countries continue to pledge their support. This is far from the required 45% cut that scientists believe will be needed in order to prevent catastrophic climate change.

The U.N. stated that global temperatures could rise to 2.7C higher than preindustrial levels by 2025 if there are not more ambitious pledges.

It would cause far worse consequences than what is already happening in countries across the globe. This could lead to catastrophic floods, wildfires, and storms.

Patricia Espinosa from the U.N. Climate Chief said, “Overall greenhouse gases emission numbers are moving into the wrong direction.” “It doesn’t suffice, what we currently have on the agenda.”

Espinosa claimed that she has received “very positive signs” from talks with certain countries that they would be making new commitments prior to the COP26 Summit in Glasgow. However, Espinosa did not identify any.

The United States and the 27-country European Union – the world’s second- and third-biggest emitters after China – were among those that set tougher emissions-cutting targets this year.

The world’s top emitters of about half its emissions are yet to reduce their carbon footprint. China, India, Saudi Arabia and others are some of these countries.

Brazil and Mexico presented updated pledges, which analysts claimed would result in higher emission levels than the countries had previously set.

Alok Sharma, the president of COP26 said that these efforts are at risk if not all countries take action, particularly those in the most powerful economies.

India, along with other countries have stated that they can’t reduce emissions as fast if they don’t receive support from wealthy nations for investment in low-carbon energy.

The promised help has so far not been delivered. On Friday, the OECD stated that it is likely wealthy countries will not reach their goal of contributing $100 billion by 2020 in order to assist developing countries with climate change.

According to the U.N., another report will be published on October 25, which will assess any climate commitments made by countries before October 12.

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