Climate Change

A new report from the United Nations before the 2022 climate summit finds that only about 13 percent of countries have followed through on climate promises.

Only 13 Percent of Counties Keeping Climate Promises, U.N. Climate Report Finds

A new report from the United Nations before the 2022 climate summit finds that only about 13 percent of countries have followed through on climate promises.

Most of those interested in sustainability and reducing manmade climate change pay close attention each year to the United Nations climate talks. Unfortunately, a U.N. climate report released a month before the meeting paints a stark picture on climate change.

The U.N. climate report found that only 19 of the 193 countries that agreed to step up actions to reduce climate change have done so. The failure of leadership to follow through on promises is leading Earth toward a future where wildfires, drought, heat waves, species extinction and intense flooding become more frequent.

The report found that without drastic changes, the planet will warm by 2.1 to 2.9 degree Celsius by 2100. That’s far higher than the 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming set as the benchmark in the 2015 Paris Climate Accords. Every degree in warming significantly increases the chances of climate change-related natural disasters.

Niklas Höhne, founder of the New Climate Institute in Cologne, Germany, told the New York Times. “This year we’ve seen little of the climate action governments promised at the end of Glasgow, amid a deluge of new science telling us that we have to move faster, and that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is still entirely possible. We need governments to set strong targets that drive emissions down, and decarbonize their economies.”

Governments Not Following Through on Sustainability

The news from the U.N. climate report seemed somewhat surprising given the shift, especially in European and North American businesses, to practice more ESG-focused policies and the emergence of Natural Asset Companies.

However, a series of crises have distracted political leaders from taking more action on climate change. They include war in Europe that started with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as global inflation and political turmoil in two of the world’s biggest economic powers, the United Kingdom and Brazil.

All of this has happened since the UN Climate Change Summit held in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2021. At that summit, participating countries vowed to increase efforts to cut emissions from the burning of coal, gas and oil, all of which contribute to the heating of the planet.

The UN climate report found that a lot of that has not occurred in most countries.

A Look at Events Since Paris in 2015

Looking even further back, when leaders gathered in Paris in 2015, they agreed to take steps to curtail carbon emissions and also agreed to update and strengthen their commitment every five years. The global pandemic postponed that five-year update. In Glasgow in 2021, the nations agreed that – because of the urgency of the situation – they would provide updated commitments and actions by the next UN Climate Conference, which will take place in November in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.

So far, only 19 nations have done so. The world’s two biggest polluters, the United States and China, have taken some actions but have not pledged more this year. Also, climate negotiations between the two countries have stalled in recent months.

The UN climate report findings echo those from the World Resources Institute. An institute analysis found that if no further commitments are made, the current climate-related promises by nations would reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by about 7 percent from where they stood in 2019. It would take reductions about six times that amount to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Taryn Fransen, a senior fellow at World Resources Institute, told the Times that current trajectory is “dangerously high.”

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