Ahead of the most important climate action event of the year, the international expert community releases key reports with the latest scientific information on climate impacts, national targets and climate action progress over the last 25 years. Now climate diplomats have only one thing to focus on: stepping-up implementation.
The United in Science report, prepared collectively by the world’s leading climate science organizations and released on 22 September 2019, presents in concise manner the most relevant scientific information on climate-related risks, including warming temperatures, sea-levels rise, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and more.
Looking at climate ambition, the joint UNDP and UNFCCC report The Heat is On gives an overview over nations’ climate goals and major implementation barriers, as well as opportunities for stakeholder engagement and synergies between climate and sustainable development. This report states clearly that business as usual is not a viable option – states must find solutions that are much more ambitious and holistic.
And finally, the UNFCCC publication Climate action and support trends demonstrates, based on member-states’ reporting, what works and what does not in climate action. It brings attention to key sectoral and geographical vulnerabilities and highlights obstacles that need to be overcome to implement climate goals.
Based on this work, decision makers have the opportunity to focus entirely on devising concrete climate action plans. The United Nations has already pledged to cut its own GHG emissions in half by 2030 in response to the climate emergency. In a communiqué published ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit, the European Union committed to releasing a long-term strategy on climate neutrality by 2050 early next year. 87 major companies have just committed to limiting their emissions to a level compatible with the 1.5 degree goal and achieving net-zero by 2050. This includes both their operations and value chains.
The question remains: will leaders take up the challenge set by UN Secretary- General António Guterres to step up ambition and deliver concrete climate action plans?