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COP27 Reaching the Paris Agreement would cost between 4,000 and 6,000 million a year

Chimney of a Kawasaki factory. / EFE

The current climate policy ambition leads to an increase in the Earth’s temperature of 2.8ºC

Jose A. Gonzalez

December 12 marks the seventh anniversary of the historic Paris Agreement, almost 2,500 days of a historic milestone that has fallen on deaf ears over the months. “Lack of ambition, absence of legal obligation, theoretical agreement…” are some of the opinions that accompany the signing of this pact to which 193 parties have adhered to manage to keep the planet’s temperature below 1.5ºC. “We are far from achieving this goal,” warns the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in the report on the Emissions Gap 2022: The window is closing. The climate crisis requires a rapid transformation of human societies.

Since that meeting in Paris, six climate summits have been held and “there is no credible route to contain global warming to the maximum agreed of 1.5ºC”, denounce those responsible for UNEP. At the gates of a new COP, number 27, and which is being held in Sharm al Shaij (Egypt), “nature has been telling us throughout the year through devastating floods, storms and unprecedented fires that we must leave of filling our atmosphere with greenhouse gases,” says Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.

Current climate policies would lead to an increase in the Earth’s temperature of 2.8ºC

The last climate summit held in Glasgow in 2021 closed with a global pact to intensify the efforts of countries to reduce GHG emissions and curb the increase in the planet’s temperature. Days before turning on the microphones, lights and stenographers in Egypt, the United Nations has taken stock of the last year. “The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and the updates of the states have been woefully insufficient,” warns the UNEP in its research, and the numbers do not lie: “The atmospheric levels of the three main greenhouse gases ( carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) reached new record levels last year,” the World Meteorological Organization revealed a few days ago.

This lack of progress “causes the world to rush towards a temperature increase well above the Paris Agreement,” says the international organization. Current policies “would lead to a rise of 2.8°C.” But, “we are on time”, assures the UN, although at a high price.

To make the global thermometer drop to the 1.5ºC set, “emissions must be reduced by 45%,” warns the UNEP investigation. “It seems impossible, but we have to try,” Andersen details. “A total transformation of the economy and society is necessary,” the authors of the text detail.

A 180-degree turn to the production model and lifestyle that have a bill of “between 4,000 and 6,000 million euros a year.” “Every tenth of a temperature counts: for vulnerable communities, for species and ecosystems, and for every person in the world,” recalls Andersen.

Lack of ambition

After the Paris Agreement, the signatory countries had to register their plans and actions with the United Nations to achieve the 1.5ºC goal. “Only 24 of the 193 parties have proactive plans,” explains the United Nations. The current ambition of the countries would not only fail to achieve the stated objective, but would also increase emissions by 10.6%. “Full implementation of all current and additional net-zero emissions commitments point to a rise of just 1.8°C,” UNEP specifies. “This hypothetical scenario is not credible today,” he adds.

Last year a new record for greenhouse gas emissions was broken

In fact, the numbers don’t lie, as last year there were 415.7 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere, 1,908 parts per billion (ppb) of methane, and 334.5 ppb of nitrous oxide. These values ​​constitute, respectively, 149%, 262% and 124% of pre-industrial levels and represent a new historical record.

“We all had the opportunity to implement incremental changes, but the time for that has run out. Only the top-to-bottom transformation of our economies and societies can save us from accelerating climate catastrophe,” Andersen warns.

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