A report released on November 21st by the United Nations Environment Programme has spurred conversation around the term “Emissions Gap.” Scientists and climate experts have asserted that global greenhouse gas emissions need to be limited in order to keep global temperature rise limited to 2 degrees C or less. However, the recent UNEP report predicts that greenhouse gas emissions could rise to 58 gigatonnes (Gt) by 2020—far above what is considered a safe level.
Greenhouse gas emissions are rising globally. Total greenhouse gas emissions have risen from around 40 Gt in 2000 to an estimated 50.1 Gt in 2010.
The report encouraged urgent action to start cutting emissions in order to keep temperature rise from reaching a point at which irreparable damage occurs.
To reduce the incidence of climate-related severe weather events, such as this fall’s Hurricane Sandy, action must be taken to increase energy efficiency in buildings, improved vehicle emissions standards, and grow renewable energy. See the UNEP press release and the The Emissions Gap Report 2012 Web page for more information.