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UN Warns of Urgent Need to Phase Out Fossil Fuels to Meet Paris Climate Goals

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A new report by the United Nations has revealed that the world is far from meeting the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and that much more needs to be done to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

The report, which was published on Friday, is based on the best scientific information and summarizes 17 key findings from technical deliberations in 2022 and 2023 on the implementation status of the Paris Agreement and its long-term goals.

The report found that there is a “rapidly narrowing window” for governments to move faster, as global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 at the latest, and be rapidly reduced from there. Emissions are still rising, however, and there is a gap of 20 to 23 gigatonnes of CO2 between the cuts needed by 2030 to limit global temperatures to 1.5°C and the world’s current emissions trajectory.

One of the most striking findings of the report is that meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement will require “phasing out all unabated fossil fuels”, which are the largest contributor to global climate change. The need to phase out fossil fuels has not been explicitly adopted by the UN before, and may face resistance from some oil-producing countries.

The report also highlighted the need for more action and support in areas such as adaptation, loss and damage, finance, technology and capacity-building. It noted that while the Paris Agreement has inspired widespread action that has significantly reduced forecasts of future warming, there are still existing and emerging opportunities and creative solutions to bridge the gaps.

The report will form the basis of the first “global stocktake” at the upcoming UN climate change conference COP28, which will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in November-December. At the stocktake, delegates will assess if they are collectively making progress towards meeting the climate goals – and where they are not.

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