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Energy & Sustainability :: Climatewire :: November 5, 2013 :: 51 Comments :: Email :: Print
Gap between Pollution Cuts and Dangerous Climate Change Widens
The gap between what has been emitted and what can be emitted to give global warming a chance of remaining under 2 degrees C widens by another gigaton of CO2
By Lisa Friedman and ClimateWire
Kintigh Generating Station in Somerset, New York.
The Kintigh Generating Station in Somerset, N.Y.
Image: Wikimedia Commons/Matthew D. Wilson
Keeping global temperatures below a dangerous threshold by 2020 risks becoming a distant dream, a new U.N. Environment Programme report finds.
Greenhouse gas emissions levels are "considerably higher" than what will be needed to keep the global average temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius, making it increasingly likely that the world will have to rely on costlier technologies like carbon capture and sequestration in order to meet the threshold in the coming decades, the "Emissions Gap Report 2013," says.
Moreover, five governments—Australia, China, the European Union, India and Russia—are on track to meet their carbon-cutting pledges. The United States, it says, is among four nations that will require "further action" or the purchase of carbon offsets in order to meet its emissions goals.
"The window of opportunity of trying to meet this 2-degree target threshold is, in a sense, becoming ever more elusive," UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said today, unveiling the report by webcast from Nairobi, Kenya.
"You can sit back for more years in your armchair and say, 'I don't want to do it,'" Steiner said. But, he said, "The window of opportunity, from a pragmatic...