UN Report Says Global Carbon Neutrality Should be Reached by Second Half of Century, Demonstrates Pathways to Stay Under 2°C Limit
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions Including Non-CO2 Must Shrink To Net Zero by 2100
Emissions Gap May Widen by 2030 but Low Carbon Path Offers Opportunities for the Future
– In order to limit global temperature rise to 2o C and head off the worst impacts of climate change, global carbon neutrality should be attained by mid-to-late century. This would also keep in check the maximum amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that can be emitted into the atmosphere while staying within safe temperature limits beyond 2020, says a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Exceeding an estimated budget of just 1,000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (Gt CO2) would increase the risk of severe, pervasive, and in some cases irreversible climate change impacts.
Released days ahead of the UN Conference on Climate Change in Lima, Peru, UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report 2014 is the fifth in a series that examines whether the pledges made by countries are on track to meet the internationally agreed under 2°C target. It is produced by 38 leading scientists from 22 research groups across 14 countries.
Building on the findings of the Fifth Assessment Report by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report shows the global emission guardrails that would give a likely chance of staying within the 2°C limit, including a peaking of emissions within the next ten years, a halving of all greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century; and in the second half of the century, carbon neutrality followed by net zero total greenhouse gas emissions.
“An increase in global temperature is proportional to the build-up of long-lasting greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, especially CO2. Taking more action now reduces the need for more extreme action later to stay within safe emission limits,” said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP.
“In a business-as-usual scenario, where little progress is made in the development and implementation of global climate policies, global greenhouse gas emissions could rise to up to 87 Gt CO2e by 2050, way beyond safe limits.”
“Countries are giving increasing attention to where they realistically need to be by 2025, 2030 and beyond in order to limit a global temperature rise to below 2°C. This fifth Emissions Gap Report underlines that carbon neutrality-
and eventually net zero or what some term climate neutrality-will be required so that what cumulative emissions are left are safely absorbed by the globe’s natural infrastructure such as forests and soils,” added Mr. Steiner.
“The Sustainable Development Goals underscore the many synergies between development and climate change mitigation goals. Linking development policies with climate mitigation will help countries build the energy-efficient, low-carbon infrastructures of the future and achieve transformational change that echoes the true meaning of sustainable development,” he concluded.
To avoid exceeding the budget, global carbon neutrality should be reached between 2055 and 2070, meaning that annual anthropogenic CO2 emissions should hit net zero by then on the global scale. Net zero implies that some remaining CO2 emissions could be compensated by the same amount of carbon dioxide uptake, or ‘negative’ emissions, so long as the net input to the atmosphere due to human activity is zero, the report finds.
Taking into account non-CO2 greenhouse gases, including methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbons, total global greenhouse gas emissions need to shrink to net zero between 2080 and 2100.
Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the World Resources Institute said, “Negotiating a global climate deal should not be based on emotions or political whims, it should be driven by science and facts. This report provides one of the most clear eyed, technical analyses of global emissions that shows how country commitments and actions measure against science.”
“Unfortunately, the world is not currently headed in the right direction. But, with the growing momentum for global climate action, we have the opportunity to close the emissions gap and keep within the limits of what the science says is needed to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.”
Since 1990, global greenhouse gas emissions have grown by more than 45 per cent. To have a likely chance of staying below the 2o C limit, global greenhouse gas emissions should drop by about 15 per cent or more by 2030 compared to 2010, and be at least 50 per cent lower by 2050 on the way to net zero.
Past issues of the Emissions Gap Report focused on good practices across different sectors and their ability to stimulate economic activity and development, while reducing emissions.
This year, the report also looks at how international development targets and corresponding policies at the national level can bring about multiple benefits, including climate change mitigation focusing in particular on energy efficiency.
Bridging the Gap
The 2014 Emissions Gap Report defines the emissions gap as the difference between emission levels in 2025 and 2030 consistent with meeting climate targets versus the levels expected if country pledges are met.
Scientists estimate the gap in 2020 at up to 10 Gt CO2e and in 2030 at up to 17 Gt CO2e. Relative to business-as-usual emissions in 2030 (68 Gt CO2e), the gap is even bigger at 26 Gt CO2e.
Despite the fact that the gap is not getting smaller, the report estimates that it could be bridged if available global emissions reductions are fully exploited: The potential for emission reductions in 2030 (relative to business-as-usual emissions) is estimated to be 29 Gt CO2e.
The Cost of Delayed Action
Postponing rigorous action until 2020 will provide savings on mitigation costs in the near-term but will bring much higher costs later on in terms of:
• Higher rates of global emission reductions in the medium-term; • Lock-in of carbon-intensive infrastructure; • Dependence on using all available mitigation technologies in the medium-term; • Greater costs of mitigation in the medium- and long-term, and greater risks of economic disruption; • Reliance on negative emissions; and • Greater risks of failing to meet the 2°C target, which would lead to substantially higher adaptation challenges and costs.
Energy Efficiency and the Post-2015 Development Agenda
Not only does energy efficiency reduce or avoid greenhouse emissions, but it can also increase productivity and sustainability through the delivery of energy savings, and support social development by increasing employment and energy security.
It is estimated that between 2015 and 2030, energy efficiency improvements worldwide could avoid at least 2.5–3.3 Gt CO2e annually.
The International Energy Agency reports that end-use fuel and electricity efficiency could save 6.8 Gt CO2e, and power generation efficiency and fossil fuel switching could save another 0.3 Gt CO2e by 2030.
Countries and other actors are already applying policies that are beneficial to both sustainable development and climate mitigation. About half the countries in the world have national policies for promoting more efficient use of energy in buildings.
About half are working on raising the efficiency of appliances and lighting. Other national policies and measures are promoting electricity generation with renewable energy, reducing transport demand and shifting transport modes, reducing process-related emissions from industry, and advancing sustainable agriculture. The Sustainable Development Goals being discussed show the many close links between development and climate change mitigation goals.
For example, efforts to eradicate energy poverty, promote universal access to cleaner forms of energy, and double energy efficiency—if fully realized—would go a long way towards putting the world on a path consistent with the climate target.
For more information and to arrange interviews with experts on the topic, please contact:
Shereen Zorba, Head of News and Media, United Nations Environment Programme, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. +254 788 526 000
Hugh Searight, News and Media, United Nations Environment Programme, email@example.com, Tel. 202 957 6978
Venue: National Press Club
U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern, who has led the United States in global climate talks since 2009, will address domestic and international efforts to mitigate the threat of global climate change during a public speech at Yale on Tuesday, Oct. 14.
The event, which will be held at 4:30 p.m. in Levinson Auditorium at the Yale Law School, 127 Wall St., is open to the public. It is hosted by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) and Yale Law School. The speech comes just weeks before the 20th meeting of the annual UN climate conference in Lima, Peru — a meeting that many leaders hope will help set a constructive course toward a successful international climate agreement to be reached at the 2015 climate conference in Paris.
The event will be broadcast via live web stream.
Stern comes to New Haven just weeks after the United Nations Climate Summit, held in New York on Sept. 23, where more than 100 heads of state plus business and civil society leaders came together to call for ambitious action on climate change. At the Summit, President Obama touted U.S. progress on the Climate Action Plan, reaffirmed a U.S. commitment to reach a global climate agreement, and announced several new climate change initiatives. Stern played an active role at the summit, which he called an opportunity for international leaders to build momentum toward a new global climate treaty before the 2015 meeting in Paris.
One year ago, more than fifty Bostonians (and Elmo) presented the WGBH board with 50,000 signatures demanding the removal of David Koch as a trustee. One year later, despite an ever-louder chorus of voices demanding Koch’s removal, he remains on the board. So we’ll be returning this year, stronger than ever. We’ll rally outside the WGBH building and present the WGBH board with 400,000 signatures demanding Koch’s removal.
3:00pm – 4:00pm ET: Listen to music, speakers, hold signs and engage in fun chants.
4:00 pm: Attend the public portion of the WGBH board meeting with Koch-Free WGBH t-shirts (will be supplied by us, if you don’t have one already).
WGBH’s offices at One Guest Street, Boston (accessible by the 86 and 64 MBTA bus lines)
The Carbon Risk Forum will bring together city and state government leaders, financial professionals, and leaders of organizations concerned about carbon risk in their investments. We are faced with growing evidence of the risk inherent in fossil fuel investments – it’s time to responsibly move to more sustainable, safer, investments. In the last year, over 30 local governments have moved to divest from fossil fuels, and we hope you will join us for an in-depth examination of the issues and a discussion of what institutions can do to lower their carbon risk. Addressing carbon risk by divesting is financially, morally, and politically prudent. This is a growing movement and we must now map out the path forward for responsibly moving our assets into more sustainable investments. The Forum will provide a unique opportunity for local governments and the institutional financial sector to interface on the components and implications of fossil fuel divestment. The Forum will build off of the successful Seattle Divestment Forum.Agenda
8:00am Breakfast and Registration8:30am Welcome and Introduction
- The Reverend Doctor Robert Massie
- Moderator: Councilor Leland Cheung
- Mark Campanale, Carbon Tracker Initiative
- Mark Lewis, Kepler Cheuvreux
- Moderator: District Attorney Sam Sutter
10:00 – 10:15am Break10:15 – 12:00pm Divestment as a Response
- Stuart Braman, Fossil Free Indexes
- John Fisher, Bloomberg LP
- Bevis Longstreth, Corporate Finance Lawyer and Professor
- Leslie Samuelrich, Green Century Funds
- Moderator: Councilor Seth Yurdin
- Mayor Joseph Curtatone, Somerville MA
- Moderator: Representative Marjorie Decker
- Thomas Kuh, MSCI
- Liz Michaels, Aperio Group
- Moderator: Councilor Michelle Wu
2:30 – 2:45pm Break2:45 – 3:45pm Divestment Case Study
- Donald P. Gould, Pitzer College Board of Trustees
- Eric Becker, Sterling College Board of Trustees
- Dan Curran, President, University of Dayton
- Moderator: Stu Dalheim, Calvert Investments
- Getting Pension Boards to Yes – Stephanie Leighton, Trillium Asset Management
- Divestment or Engagement – Leslie Samuelrich, Green Century Fund
- Maximizing the Political Benefit of Divesting – Mike McGinn, Former Seattle Mayor
- Reinvestment Possibilities – Ken Locklin, IMPAX, Karina Funk, Brown Advisory
- State-level Divestment – Rep. Marjorie Decker, Rep. Aaron Michlewitz
- City-level Divestment – Councilor Seth Yurdin
4:45 – 5:00pm Closing
5:00 – 6:00pm Reception
The National Young Farmers Coalition, La Sombrilla, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and NRDC Present
Climate and Food Justice Forum: Building Connections between New York and Puerto Rico
New York and Puerto Rico are home to some of the most climate vulnerable communities in the United States. Advocates and residents in both regions increasingly see food justice as critical to bolstering their communities’ resiliency in the face of climate change. The forum will explore that connection, highlighting how farmers and activists in both regions are developing climate smart alternatives to conventional agriculture.
Cindy Madeleiny Camacho Bernard Estudiantes Dispuestos a la Restauración Ambiental
Annie Courtens Roxbury Farm
Keisha Morale Rodríguez Estudiantes Dispuestos a la Restauración Ambiental
Ana Elisa Pérez Quintero Proyecto Enlace
Colibrí Sanfiorenzo-Barnhard La Sombrilla
Columbia Law School 435 W 116th St Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107 New York, NY 10027
The Climate Justice Alliance, together with our friends and allies, is hosting the People’s Climate Justice Summit, featuring the voices, strategies, and solutions of climate-affected communities around the world.
On September 23, political and corporate leaders will meet at the United Nations in New York City for Climate Summit 2014. This summit represents yet another step towards the corporate takeover of the UN climate negotiations and the privatization of land, water, and air resources under the guise of a global climate compact. The climate crisis is a symptom of a deeper problem: an economy based on extraction and exploitation of resources and people. This economy benefits a few at the expense of communities and the planet.
While heads of state meet at the UN, communities across the country are united for a just transition away from an economy based on fossil fuel extraction and other dirty industries, and towards clean community energy, zero waste, public transit, local food systems and housing for all.
Church Center for the United Nations, 777 1st Ave at E. 44th St
10:00 AM – 5:00 PMPEOPLES TRIBUNAL
- Dr. Robert Bullard, Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University
- Lisa Garcia, Friends of the Earth
- Jeremy Brecher, Labor Network for Sustainability
- Rex Varona, Global Coalition on Migration
- Rosa Guillen, World March of Women
- Julia Olson, Our Children’s Trust
Hear hard-hitting testimonies from affected peoples around the globe as we indict political leaders and corporate polluters for their failure to protect our health, communities and planet. We will hear from those living with the real and immediate impacts of climate change and people living on the frontlines of extractive industries that are contributing to climate change.Opening
- Julia Beatty, Center for Social Inclusion
10:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Climate Change: Place-based Experiences, Impacts/Adaptation/Migration
- Laquan Thomas/Andres Felipe Hernandez, Ironbound Community Corporation (United States)
- Cynthia Moices, UPROSE (United States)
- Beryl Thurman, North Shore Waterfront Conservancy – Staten Island (United States)
- Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Earth Guardians (United States)
- Mamadou Goita, Institute for Research and the Promotion of Alternatives in Development, (Mali)
- Antolin Huáscar Flores, Confederación Nacional Agraria (Peru)
- Representative, Black Urban Growers (United States)
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Corporate Root Causes to Climate Change
- Patricia Gualinga Montalvo, Kichwa leader, Sarayaku, Ecuadorian Amazon (Ecuador)
- Jihan Gearon, Black Mesa Water Coalition (United States)
- Kelsey Julian, Our Children’s Trust (United States)
- Katherine Eglund, NAACP Gulf Port Chapter (United States)
- Venancia Cruz Jimenez, Movimiento Indígena Santiago de Anaya (México)
- Alex Cardoso, Movement of Recyclers/Catadores – MNCR (Brazil)
3:00 PM – 5:00 PMThe People Face the Tribunal- Statements and Decision by Judges
- Damaris Reyes, Good Old Lower East Side (United States)
- Miriam Miranda, Organizacion Fraternal Negra Hondurena – OFRANEH (Honduras)
- Stanley Sturgill, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (United States)
- Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Cree, Greenpeace (Canada)
- Mithika Mwende, Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance, Kenya (Nigeria)
New School, Alvin Johnson / J.M. Kaplan Hall Auditorium, 66 West 12th St
9:00 AM – 11:30 AM
TOWARDS LIVING ECONOMIES 1: SYSTEMS ALTERNATIVESSpeakers:
- Casey Camp, Ponca Tribe (United States)
- Michael Leon Guerrero, Climate Justice Alliance Our Power Campaign (United States)
- Lidy Nacpil, Jubilee South Asia Pacific on Debt and Development (Philippines)
- Sandra Van Niekerk, Public Services International (South Africa)
Juliet Rousseau, Bizi, Alternatibas Process (France).
In the face of climate change, communities everywhere are experimenting with new and time-tested approaches to energy, waste, transit, and the provision of peoples’ needs that protect people and the planet. But to counter the systemic causes of the climate crisis and meet the scale of the problem, movement forces are also developing bold proposals for systemic alternatives. Join us for an exploration of new economic, organizing and worker-centered models that could help us all weather the storm as we build the next economy together.
12:30 PM – 2:30 PM
TOWARDS LIVING ECONOMIES 2: JUST TRANSITION STRATEGIESSpeakers:
- Al Weinrub, Local Clean Energy Alliance (United States)
- Monica Wilson, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (United States)
- Juan Camilo Osorio, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (United States),
- Beth Grimsberg (Brazil)
- Rosa Miranda, Bus Riders Union (United States)
Confronting the climate crisis effectively – and building a climate movement strong enough to do so – will require us to take on the social, economic, and political inequities that have allowed the dirty energy economy to persist. And we must address these issues with a particular lens focused on how these systems have led to communities of color and low-income communities bearing the brunt of climate impacts. While we fight against the old energy economy rooted in inequity, we must continue to build a better and stronger vision that can both can work for all of us and is led by communities most marginalized and impacted by climate change. This requires a just transition from the old to the new. A transition into a new economy rooted in the foundation of racial and social justice, invested in people and the planet, and on that is regenerative and life giving. To do so, we must begin to think intersectionally and build cross-sectoral alliances for making change.
From transit to energy, in this panel and conversation, participants will learn from people who are envisioning a just transition and building towards a more sustainable and just future.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is hosting the Climate Summit to engage leaders and advance climate action and ambition. The Summit will serve as a public platform for leaders at the highest level – all UN Member States, as well as finance, business, civil society and local leaders from public and private sectors – to catalyze ambitious action on the ground to reduce emissions and strengthen climate resilience and mobilize political will for an ambitious global agreement by 2015 that limits the world to a less than 2-degree Celsius rise in global temperature.
The Climate Summit will be about action and solutions that are focused on accelerating progress in areas that can significantly contribute to reducing emissions and strengthening resilience – such as agriculture, cities, energy, financing, forests, pollutants, resilience and transportation.
The Summit is not part of the UNFCCC negotiating process. By promoting climate action, it aims to show that leaders across sectors and at all levels are taking action, thus expanding the reach of what is possible today, in 2015, and beyond.
8:00 – 8:30 Opening Ceremony General Assembly Hall
8:45 – 12:30 National Action & Ambition Announcements, Heads of State and Government
12:45 – 13:15 Joint conclusion of the morning National Action and Ambition Announcements General Assembly Hall
13:30 – 15:15 Private Sector Forum High-level Luncheon Delegates Dining Room15:30 – 18:30
|National Action & Ambition Announcements, Ministers Conference Rooms 1 & 2||Multilateral and Multi-stakeholder Action Announcements
18:45 – 19:15 Closing Ceremony General Assembly Hall
All proceedings will be broadcast live on http://webtv.un.org
There will be multiple press briefings throughout the day in room S-237. Additional stakeout locations will be available inside the premises.
UN social media accounts: http://www.un.org/social/
You can also follow the conversation with the hash tag #climate2014
A private, off-site dinner sponsored by NRG Energy.
By inspiring consumers to be passionate about how we use and produce energy, we can spur a consumer-led movement that compels a clean energy future. Through collaboration and solutions driven by a shared purpose, we can create positive environmental and economic outcomes unprecedented in scale and ambition—securing the futures of people, the economy, and the planet. Challenged to shift our mindsets toward achieving this goal through creative cooperation at last year’s Annual Meeting, this dinner will bring together corporate leaders to accelerate the race to a clean energy future and fight our generation’s greatest challenge: climate change.
- David Crane, President and CEO, NRG Energy, Inc.
- Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and Founder, X PRIZE Foundation
A private, off-site dinner sponsored by Monsanto.
Over the next 50 years, societies around the world will have to generate more food than they did in the past 10,000 years combined in order to meet the needs of the growing global population. And this food will need to be produced in ever-evolving environments that are facing some serious challenges, from extreme weather to the availability and sustainability of natural resources. No single entity can solve these issues alone, and it is imperative for farmers, corporations, NGOs, and government agencies to work together to develop creative solutions. This dinner will feature a compelling panel discussion exploring ways to improve sustainable food production in the face of climate change, population growth, and resource constraints.
Hugh Grant, Chairman and CEO, Monsanto Company
Marc Gunther, Editor-at-Large, Guardian Sustainable Business US
- Robb Fraley, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Monsanto Company
- Peter Seligmann, Chairman and CEO, Conservation International Foundation
A Symposium in Preparation for the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit 2014
Emissions markets are already operational from Europe to California to China, and many countries are likely to include market programs in pledges for the new international climate agreement in Paris in 2015. Over 60 countries and regions are currently using or seriously considering carbon markets and pricing instruments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, according to a recent World Bank report.
This panoply of actions is laudable, but it presents challenges for business if systems are disparate and disconnected. How can international policy encourage market systems to grow, mature, and link together? How might emerging systems fit together in a coherent system that enables large-scale change fueled by major investment in new technology? And what does the 2015 agreement need to do to facilitate, rather than impede international linkage?
The Harvard Project on Climate Agreements is leading new research into international market architecture for the Paris 2015 Agreement, in collaboration with the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA). This research is focused on policy linkage as a potentially important element of an emerging bottom-up international system to address climate change—linkage not only between emissions-trading systems (ETSs), but among ETSs, tax systems, and non-market regulatory systems (“heterogeneous linkage”). The research is highly relevant to the ongoing UNFCCC negotiations.
3:00 Welcome and Introductions
- Dirk Forrister, President and CEO, IETA
3:10 Pricing Carbon: Trends and Lessons from California, China, and Europe
- Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action
- Mary D. Nichols, Chairman, California Air Resources Board
- Joseph Martens, Commssioner of the New York State Department of Environmental
- Tang Jie, Vice Mayor of Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China
- Amber Rudd, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Climate Change, United Kingdom
3:50 Carbon Pricing, Linkage, and the 2015 Agreement
- Robert Stavins, Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
The Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and IETA will release an Executive Summary of a paper on this topic that will released prior to COP 20 in Lima, Peru.
4:10 What are the essentials for markets in the 2015 Agreement?
- Amy Ericson, US President, Alstom
- Steve Lennon, Group Executive Sustainability, Eskom
- Jim Rogers, Former CEO, Duke Energy*
- Anna Lindstedt, Ambassador for Climate Change, Sweden
- Anne Chassagnette, Director for Environment and Social Responsibility, GDF Suez
- Ted Roosevelt, Managing Director, Barclays
- David Hone, Chief Climate Change Advisor, Shell
- Nat Keohane, Vice President-International Climate, Environmental Defense Fund
CEOs and senior executives from major industries will discuss their views on carbon pricing, how pricing policies have affected their businesses – and what they hope to see in future domestic and international climate policies. The companies will release Statements highlighting their views.
Government officials and representatives of the private sector will take questions from the audience.
Open to the Media.
The Harvard Club of New York City
27 West 44th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)