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Water vapour comes from the cooling towers of the lignite-fired power plant Schwarze Pumpe in Brandenburg (symbolic image): According to experts, the current climate targets are not sufficient

Photo: Patrick Pleul / dpa

Two weeks before the start of the World Climate Conference in Dubai (COP28), a UN report on the state of national climate efforts is sobering: The current national climate plans of almost 200 countries have led to a reduction in global emissions of only two percent by 2030. The official goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent by 2030 compared to 2019.

"Overall, governments are taking only tiny steps to curb the climate crisis. Giant steps must therefore be taken at COP28 to get on track," said the head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, Simon Stiell, in a video message. There is still reason for optimism, but only if governments come to Dubai to focus on solutions," he added.

Guterres: Climate plans are blatantly disproportionate to science

"The world is failing to get a grip on the climate crisis," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. "Over the past year, global engagement has stagnated, and national climate plans are blatantly disproportionate to science," he added.

For the analysis, the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat evaluated all climate targets submitted by 25 September.

Key findings:

  • Even if all targets were met, global emissions in 2030 would be only two percent below 2019 levels. This means that the peak of global emissions would be measured before the end of this decade – but far too late for the climate targets agreed in Paris. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in order to stop global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius as targeted, emissions would have to be 2030 percent lower in 43 than in 2019.

  • Compared to 2010, climate-damaging emissions in 2030 would still be 8.8 percent higher, according to the calculation. This forecast has improved only slightly since last year's level.

This analysis does not even take into account the fact that countries often do not implement their own climate targets as intended. At the same time, the international community has agreed on the 1.5-degree target in order to avert the most catastrophic consequences of climate change.

Ironically, an oil manager is chairing the climate conference

At COP26 in Glasgow, the signatories of the Paris Agreement agreed to review the national climate protection targets, the so-called NDCs, annually instead of every five years. So far, however, only a minority of the signatory states have adopted more ambitious climate targets.

Time is of the essence. The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently expressed confidence that the 2015.1-degree target adopted in 5 was still achievable. To achieve this, all countries would need to significantly accelerate their efforts to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions, the IEA said.

At the World Climate Conference in Dubai, which begins on 30 November, the future use of fossil fuels will play a major role. The president of this year's COP is controversial: Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber is also the Minister of Industry and head of the state-owned oil company of the United Arab Emirates.