1.5°C still out of reach despite COP 26 pledges, analysts warn

(The Energy Mix, 8 Nov 2021) After a week of back-to-back climate pledges that had the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) declaring a moment of celebration at a COP 26 side event Thursday, a report from Climate Analytics aims to temper world leaders’ optimism until short-term emissions targets ramp up.

“Because global warming is tied directly to the total sum of all CO2 emissions, each year of delayed action to 2030 will limit our ability to keep warming to 1.5°C by 2100,” writes Climate Analytics.

Last week, the IEA reassessed worldwide emissions targets under its Announced Pledges Scenario to factor in the slew of new pledges during the first week of the COP. The Paris-based agency found that the new commitments—on top of older ones— would be enough to hold the rise in global temperatures to 1.8°C by the end of the century.

While that estimate indicates progress compared to the 2.7°C threshold contained in multiple science reports before the COP, the IEA cautioned that “we still fall well short of what is needed to keep the door open to 1.5 °C, [which] would require rapid progress on reducing emissions between now and 2030.” The agency pointed to a 60% gap in the reductions needed by 2030 to hit the Paris target, observing that “governments are making bold promises for future decades, but short-term action is insufficient.”

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The Energy Mix, 8 Nov 2021: 1.5°C still out of reach despite COP 26 pledges, analysts warn