Although the pandemic-linked economic slowdown is expected to cause an up to 7% drop in carbon dioxide emissions this year, the world is heading for a temperature rise in excess of 3°C by the end of this century, according to a UN report Wednesday. 

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said in its ‘Emissions Gas Report 2020’ that if governments fulfill the promises made in the Paris Agreement on climate change and solidify emerging net-zero commitments with strengthened pledges, they can bring emissions to levels broadly consistent with the agreement’s 2°C goal.

A green pandemic recovery could cut up to 25% off predicted 2030 greenhouse gas emissions and bring the world closer to meeting the goal, it added.

Additionally, UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen noted: “The year 2020 is on course to be one of the warmest on record, while wildfires, storms and droughts continue to wreak havoc.”

“UNEP’S Emissions Gap report shows that a green pandemic recovery can take a huge slice out of greenhouse gas emissions and help slow climate change,” Andersen added.

She urged governments to back a green recovery in the next stage of the coronavirus fiscal intervention and significantly raise their climate ambitions in 2021.

The report also underlined that the expected 2020 fall in carbon dioxide emissions as a result of reduced travel, lower industrial activity and electricity generation due to the pandemic only translates to a 0.01°C reduction of global warming by 2050.

According to the World Meteorological Organization’s provisional annual climate report, which was released last week, 2020 is on track to be one of the three warmest years on record after 2016 and 2019.

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