Geneva: The United Nations has launched a new group of experts to develop strong standards for net-zero pledges in partnership with national governments to fight against climate change.
Launching the new initiative, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, ” Despite growing pledges of climate action, global emissions are at an all-time high, adding that “the latest science shows that climate disruption is causing havoc in every region already.”
He also urged private investors, businesses, cities, states, and regions to do more to cut harmful greenhouse gas emissions, to help with realizing a net-zero future.
The key objective is to stop global temperatures from rising by 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as the international community agreed in Paris in 2015.
But the UN chief warned that the world was losing the race to reduce global temperatures.
Government had the biggest responsibility to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century – “especially the G20” industrialized nations, he said, before calling on “every business, investor, city, state, and region to walk the talk on their net-zero promises.”
The IPPC, or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has demonstrated that nearly half of humanity is already in the danger zone, “he said. “If we don’t see significant and sustained emissions reductions this decade, the window of opportunity to keep 1.5 alive will be closed and closed forever” and that will be a disaster for everyone.
He praised the commitment being made at Thursday’s meeting to create a new brain trust to make the commitments on net zero a reality in the form of the new advisory High-Level Expert Group.
At COP26 last year, the Secretary-General flagged the need for “more credible and robust standards and criteria for measuring, analyzing, and reporting on the net-zero pledges by non-state entities.”
He stressed that net-zero standards at every level of activity, and strengthened accountability around implementing those goals, would deliver real and immediate emissions cuts.
The Expert Group will make recommendations before the end of the year addressing four areas, he told the launch: current standards and definitions for setting net-zero targets, Credibility criteria are used to assess the objectives, measurement, and reporting of net-zero pledges. processes for verifying progress towards net-zero commitments and decarbonization plans, and a roadmap to translate standards and criteria into international and national regulations.
He noted that the group of experts was gender-balanced and geographically diverse, “with deep experience across government, business, the global financial system, civil society, and academia.”