A landmark assessment, spotlighting the emissions gaps between what nations pledged on climate change 12 months ago and what is actually needed to avoid a 2 degree temperature rise, was formally handed over today to the Government of Mexico.
The report, coordinated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) with researchers from 25 climate modeling centres world-wide, has provided a key focus for governments at the UN climate change convention negotiations in Cancun.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, delivered the report to Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada, the Mexican environment minister whose National Institute of Ecology-SEMARNAT was one of the key steering organizations along with the European Climate Foundation.
Minister Elvira highlighted the valuable contribution of the report to the current negotiations at the COP-16. He mentioned that the report 'acts as a trigger to promote, at global scale, an increase in our level of ambition to tackle climate change', and added that 'we are only halfway. We have identified and quantified the gap, we want now to continue our collaboration with UNEP on filling this noticeable gap'.
Minister Elvira also asked UNEP to consider follow-up reports including a periodic emissions progress study and one outlining how the gaps between 'current ambition and scientific reality' can be bridged by the key date of 2020.
He said Mexico stood ready to back such assessments and reports in support of international efforts to combat climate change.
According to scientists, global emissions should be around 44 Gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 equivalent in ten years time in order to have a good chance of keeping a global temperature rise under 2 degrees C 30 years later.
If all the pledges made at and after the 2009 UN Copenhagen climate summit were met in full, including the financing pledges, emissions might hit 49 Gt leaving a gap of 5Gt of CO2 equivalent that needs to be filled by greater action.