The United Nations (UN) has urged member countries to triple their current plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the agreed target of limiting the global temperature increase below 2 degrees.
The advice is contained in the annual UN Report launched on Tuesday in Geneva and in the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report.
“As things stand, temperatures can be expected to rise by 3.4 to 3.9 degrees this century, bringing wide-ranging and destructive climate impacts,’’ the report said.
The document was published one week before representatives from 200 countries are due to meet at the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid.
In the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries not only defined a minimum target of 2 degrees but also pledged to strive for an even more ambitious 1.5 degrees.
According to UNEP, national emission cuts that will contribute toward this second, more ambitious goal should be increased at least fivefold.
The report warned developed countries not to simply reduce their carbon dioxide output by moving industrial production to emerging economies.
“Footprints need to fall, which means lifestyle changes,’’ it added.
The UN agency not only advocated a boost of renewable energy for electricity production, heating, and transport, but also called for reducing the energy input in building materials such as iron, steel, and cement.