A new report from the United Nations which measured the progress of national action plans against the effect of the unfolding climate crisis has shown that while some countries are increasing the efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas contribution, the overall impact falls short of what the planet need. At the same time, a new survey reports overwhelming public support for more government action on the environment.
The interim report was produced by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to look at the progress on national climate action plans of 75 countries representing 30 percent of the global emission. Many countries did not submit their revised plans and among these, we have the world’s top three carbon polluters China, United States, and India.
For this reason, Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, consider this report a snapshot rather than the full picture of the road ahead and urges all remaining countries to submit their Nationally Determined Contributions so that a new and more detailed report can be released ahead of the 26th session of Conference of its Parties (COP26) which will take place this November in Glasgow.
“We congratulate Parties that rose to the challenges posed by COVID-19 in 2020, honoured their commitments under the Paris Agreement and submitted their NDCs by the deadline … but it’s time for all remaining Parties to step up, fulfil what they promised to do and submit their NDCs as soon as possible”, Ms. Espinosa said in a statement. “If this task was urgent before, it’s crucial now.”
The Paris Agreement’s ambitious goal is to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) requires cutting global emission by 45 percent before 2030 compared to 2010 levels. And the recovery plans post-pandemic are seen by many as an opportunity to actually change our society for the better and achieve these goals. But governments have to chose to act.
“Today’s interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet. It shows governments are nowhere close to the level of ambition needed to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement”, Secretary-General António Guterres added.
The new survey from the University of Cambridge showed that the vast majority of adults in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Poland, the UK, and the US support more action by the government on climate change. The team interviewed 14,627 people across those countries. Over 90 percent of respondents in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Poland, and the UK supported more government interventions. In the United States, the number was lower (around 79 percent) though still a large majority.
"We live in a time of polarisation, and environmental issues have long embodied the political divisions in society. However, this may be changing. We can see an overwhelming consensus emerging for greater government-led action to protect the environment in major nations," Dr Lee de-Wit, a political psychologist at the University of Cambridge said in a statement.
"As we approach COP26, politicians the world over should take confidence from these findings. Voters across party lines want to see more government action. The time is now."