A newreportby the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or UNFCCC has found that countries need to accelerate their climate action to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The report, titled “Synthesis Report by the Co-facilitators of the Technical Dialogue of the First Global Stocktake (GST) under the Paris Agreement,” found that global greenhouse gas emissions are still rising, but the rate of increase has slowed. However, the report also found that more needs to be done to reduce emissions.
“The window to keep limiting warming to 1.5 °C within reach is closing rapidly, and progress is still inadequate based on the best available science. Global emissions to date are not in line with modelled global mitigation pathways consistent with the global temperature goal of the Paris Agreement nor are they aligned with longer-term emission reduction goals,” the report states.
The report also held that “Impacts of climate change are increasing and threaten all countries, yet adaptation efforts to date have focused on planning and have not yet driven the broad changes necessary to enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability.”
The report found that there has been progress in adaptation, but more needs to be done to protect people and ecosystems from the impacts of climate change.
Nigeria is particularly vulnerable to climate change, as it is already experiencing the effects of rising sea levels, more extreme weather events, and desertification.
What is the Paris Agreement?
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change, adopted on December 12, 2015, during the 21st Conference of the Parties or COP21 to the UNFCCC held in Paris, France, is a groundbreaking international treaty addressing climate change and its impacts. Its core objective is to combat global warming and limit global average temperature increases.
Under the Paris Agreement, participating countries, known as Parties, commit to limiting the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with an ambition to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This stringent target is essential to avoid climate change’s most catastrophic impacts.
Each Party is required to submit its Nationally Determined Contribution or NDC, outlining its specific climate action plans and targets. These contributions encompass mitigation efforts, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation measures to build resilience against climate impacts.
Additionally, the Paris Agreement emphasises the importance of climate finance, with developed countries pledging to provide financial assistance to developing nations for mitigation and adaptation efforts.
The agreement also includes a mechanism for a global stocktake every five years to assess collective progress and ensure that efforts are on track to achieve the agreement’s goals. This process allows for increased ambition over time.
This year has shown more needs to be done
This year, extreme weather events have continued to show why increased action towards climate change needs to be increased.
According to NASA, July was recorded as the hottestmonth since 1880. Heat waves in parts of North America and Asia led to the death of hundreds and the hospitalisation of even more.
In Africa, In February and March, Tropical Cyclone Freddy, regarded as the worst ever documented, wreaked havoc in the Indian Ocean for over five weeks. It struck land in Madagascar and Mozambique, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 238 lives and causing extensive damage to thousands of homes.
Even in Nigeria, floods have been recorded in states including Abuja, Cross River, Kwara, ETc.
Such extreme weather events not only directly threaten human health and well-being but also exacerbate existing environmental and social challenges, making it imperative for the global community to step up efforts to mitigate and adapt to these changes.
The report points to a growing imperative for nations and stakeholders worldwide to take more ambitious and immediate climate action to address this critical situation. This includes accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources, implementing policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protecting and restoring ecosystems, and investing in resilient infrastructure.
The recent heat records underscore the need for comprehensive international cooperation, with countries honouring their commitments under the Paris Agreement and striving for more aggressive targets. It’s a call to recognise that the climate crisis is here and now, that meaningful action is essential, and a moral obligation to safeguard the planet for current and future generations.
According to the report, “Action is needed across both gaps to increase the ambition of NDCs and the implementation of policies to achieve the stated targets and to progress towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.”