Union of Concerned Scientists: Latest UN Emissions Report Shows We Are Sleepwalking Towards Climate Catastrophe, Need to Wake Up and Act

Statement by Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy and Policy

Published Nov 26, 2019

WASHINGTON—The United Nations Environment Programme released its annual emissions gap report today.

Below is a statement by Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists with more than 30 years of experience working on international climate and energy issues, who spoke at a press briefing this morning in advance of the UN climate talks taking place in Madrid next month.

“The climate emergency is now upon us, as countries around the world experience torrential floods, out-of-control wildfires, powerful storms, heatwaves and other climate-related extreme events. Some countries, states, cities and companies are responding with the urgency required, but the world’s largest emitting countries are missing in action.

“For several years, we’ve been warning that we are running out of time. But it’s clear now is the time to radically change the path we’re on. The latest United Nations emissions gap report shows that global emissions continue to rise and will need to be cut at a rate of 7.6 percent each year for the next decade to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, in line with the Paris Agreement.

“We are sleepwalking towards climate catastrophe and need to wake up and take urgent action. The outcomes of COP25 must respond to the clear urgency of the science and the demands of people around the world for transformational actions to address both the climate crisis and the crisis of economic inequality and social exclusion. We’ll be doing our best to ensure that they do.”