The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) just released its annual emissions gap report reviewing the difference between between where greenhouse emissions are predicted to be in 2030 and where they should be to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. This year, the report finds that even with a slight drop in carbon dioxide emissions due to the pandemic, we are moving towards the dreaded scenario: an increase of 3°C celsius compared to the pre-industrial level, whereas our objective of the Paris agreement is set at less than 2 degrees.
Today, we have a unique opportunity. We need to rebuild the economy after the COVID 19 crisis, and we can do this by integrating as many clean solutions as possible and conduct a low-carbon recovery. In this report, the UNEP showcases the forecasted outcomes of such recovery. It would cut 25% of the expected greenhouse gases emissions by 2030 and allow us to achieve our climate goals. An encouraging finding of this report is that there is a growing number of countries committing to net-zero emissions goals. At the time of report completion, 126 countries covering 51 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions had adopted, announced or were considering net-zero goals. These commitments have to be implemented on the ground with strong near-term actions. Each year the report also looks at the potential of specific sectors. In 2020, it considers consumer behaviour and the shipping and aviation sectors as sectors that should get more attention in future policies since they represent a great opportunity to conduct a low-carbon recovery.