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UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2022

Context:

Recently, The Emissions Gap Report 2022: The Closing Window – Climate crisis calls for rapid transformation of societies was released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Conservation of Environment and Ecology, Important International Institutions and their reports)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Emissions Gap Report
  2. Highlights of the Emissions Gap Report 2022
  3. Why focus on the food systems industry?
  4. What are livestock emissions?

About Emissions Gap Report

  • The UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report gives a yearly review of the difference between where greenhouse emissions are predicted to be in 2030 and where they should be to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
  • The annual report from UNEP measures the gap between anticipated emissions and levels consistent with the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming this century to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • The UNEP is a leading global environmental authority established in 1972 and Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • It sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for global environment protection.
  • It sets the global environmental agenda, promotes sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for global environment protection.
  • The UNEP Publishes:
    • Emission Gap Report,
    • Global Environment Outlook,
    • Frontiers,
    • Invest into Healthy Planet.

Highlights of the Emissions Gap Report 2022

  • The report focused on the need for countries to take significant steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2022 (UNFCCC COP 27).
  • According to the 2022 report, the national pledges taken by countries since last year only make a “negligible difference” to predicted 2030 emissions.
  • These pledges or the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), only reduce the emissions by 1 per cent by the end of the decade.
  • With the current policies, the global temperature is expected to rise by 2.8°C by the end of this century, and emissions should be cut down by 45 per cent globally to maintain the goal temperatures.
  • It emphasised transformative solutions across sectors, including food systems.

Why focus on the food systems industry?

  • Food systems comprise all food products, derived from crop and livestock production, forestry, fisheries, and the larger socio-economic systems surrounding them.
  • While other sectors are dominant in the global climate action plans, food systems are neglected.
  • This often prevents the people from recognizing emissions produced as a result of their consumption and production patterns, as well as of livestock.
  • In a first, New Zealand recently planned to tax agricultural emissions, which includes those from livestock burps and waste, in an attempt to “transition to a low emissions future” and fulfil its promise “to price agriculture emissions from 2025,”.
  • New Zealand is one of the world’s largest exporters of dairy and meat products. However, the agricultural production processes result in significant greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Mostly, biogenic methane and nitrous oxide are responsible for about half of New Zealand’s gross emissions, hence a pricing mechanism will be introduced to achieve the emissions reduction target by 2050.

What are livestock emissions?

  • Emissions from livestock mainly include carbon dioxide (from urea), nitrous oxide (from livestock dung and urine), and methane (from belching) among others.
  • They contribute towards the greenhouse effect as due to these gases, heat gets trapped around the surface of the earth and causes global warming.
  • According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of gases is a metric that helps measure “the radiative effect (determined by the ability to absorb energy) of each unit of gas” over a specific period of time such as 100 years, “as expressed relative to the radiative effect of carbon dioxide.”
  • Through GWP, we know gases such as nitrous oxide and methane produce more heat around the earth’s surface than carbon dioxide or CO2, which is taken as a reference.
  • It absorbs more energy than CO2 but stays in the atmosphere for a shorter duration.
  • Over a 20-year-period, it has 80 times more GWP than that carbon dioxide.

-Source: Indian Express


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