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The Emissions Gap Report 2013

A UNEP Synthesis Report

image of The Emissions Gap Report 2013

This report confirms and strengthens the conclusions of previous analyses that current pledges and commitments fall short of set goals. It further says that, as emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise rather than decline, it becomes less likely that emissions will be low enough by 2020 to be on a least-cost pathway towards meeting the 2° C target. As a result, after 2020, the world will have to rely on more difficult, costlier and riskier means of meeting the target. The further from the least-cost level in 2020, the higher these costs and the greater the risks will be. If the gap is not closed or significantly narrowed by 2020, the door to many options to limit temperature increase to 1.5° C at the end of this century will be closed, further increasing the need to rely on accelerated energy-efficiency increases and biomass with carbon capture and storage for reaching the target.

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Introduction

In December of 2009, 114 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the ‘Climate Convention’) agreed to the Copenhagen Accord1. Among the important provisions of the accord was the call to parties to submit voluntary emission reduction pledges for the year 2020. To date, 42 developed countries have responded to this call and submitted economy-wide greenhouse gas emission reduction pledges, 16 developing countries have submitted multi-sector expected emission reductions, and in addition 39 other developing countries have submitted pledges related to sectoral goals2. Another important provision was the setting of a target to keep the increase in global average temperature below 2°C relative to preindustrial levels. In the wake of these two provisions, some very critical questions arose:

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