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Greenhouse gas emissions gap wider than ever: UN

Global greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 could be between 13 billion and 15 billion tonnes more than the level needed to keep global warming within 2 degrees Celsius this century, a United Nations report estimated on Tuesday.

The ninth annual UN Environment Program (UNEP) report analyzed the impact of countries’ emissions cut targets and policies, and whether they are enough to limit global average temperature rise to a safer threshold below 2C.

The assessment comes a few days before a UN climate conference starts in Poland from December 2-14. The talks will produce a “rule book” on how to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement which aims limit the rise in global temperatures to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius.

The UNEP said annual greenhouse gas emissions reached a record high of 53.5 billion tonnes in 2017 after three years of decreases. They are not seen peaking by 2030, let alone by 2020.

However, emissions in 2030 will need to be around 25 percent and 55 percent lower than last year to put the world on track to limit global warming to 2 degrees and 1.5 degrees Celsius respectively, the report said.

“Increased emissions and lagging action means the gap figure for this year’s report is larger than ever,” the report said.

Current climate policies are seen lowering emissions by up to 6 billion tonnes by 2030, implying global warming of around 3C by 2100, with warming continuing afterwards.

“If the emissions gap is not closed by 2030, it is very plausible that the goal of a well below 2C temperature rise increase is also out of reach,” the report said.

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