World’s richest 1% ‘create more than double the combined emissions of the poorest 50%’

The richest 1% will need to reduce their current emissions by at least a factor of 30 to help the planet meet the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement, according to a new report

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The combined emissions of the richest 1% of the global population account for more than twice the share of the poorest 50%.

That’s according to the Emissions Gap Report by UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which suggests the richest 1% will need to reduce their current emissions by at least a factor of 30 to help the planet meet the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.

The report investigates the difference between where the greenhouse gas emissions are forecast to be in 2030 and where they should be to avoid the worst impacts on climate change.

The findings of the analysis show that although carbon dioxide emissions could decrease by about 7% in 2020, compared to 2019 levels due to Covid-19, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise.

The authors of the report predict the dip in emissions this year could lead to only a 0.01°C reduction of global warming by 2050.

The analysis concludes the world is still heading for a temperature rise in excess of 3°C this century, far beyond the Paris Agreement goals.

A green pandemic recovery could cut up to 25% off predicted 2030 greenhouse gas emissions and bring the world closer to meeting the goal of the Paris Agreement, according to the findings of the report.

Inger Andersen, UNEP’s Executive Director, said: “The year 2020 is on course to be one of the warmest on record, while wildfires, storms and droughts continue to wreak havoc.

“However, UNEP’s Emissions Gap report shows that a green pandemic recovery can take a huge slice out of greenhouse gas emissions and help slow climate change. I urge governments to back a green recovery in the next stage of COVID-19 fiscal interventions and raise significantly their climate ambitions in 2021.”

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