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Emission Gap Report

Topics Covered:

  1. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Emission Gap Report


What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings.

For Mains: Challenges present and ways to address them.


Context: The annual United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) flagship Emissions Gap Report has been released.


What is the “Emissions Gap”?

Also called as the “Commitment Gap”, it is the difference between the low level of emissions that the world needs to drop to, compared with the projected level of emissions based on countries’ current commitments to decarbonization.

It measures the gap between what we need to do and what we are actually doing to tackle climate change.


Why does the Emissions Gap Matter? 

The gap is important because if we can’t close it and meet the emissions reduction target, we will face increasingly severe climate impacts worldwide.

Therefore, it is important that policymakers, and their citizens, know what the gap is so that the commitments countries are making are sufficient to close the gap.


The Emissions Gap Report measures and projects three key trendlines: 

  1. The amount of greenhouse gas emissions every year up to 2030.
  2. The commitments countries are making to reduce their emissions and the impact these commitments are likely to have on overall emission reduction.
  3. The pace at which emissions must be reduced to reach an emission low that would limit temperature increase to 1.5oC, affordably.

The report also identifies key opportunities for each country to increase the pace of emission reduction necessary to close the gap. 


Key findings of the report:

  1. The world will fail to meet the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement unless global greenhouse gas emissions fall by 7.6 per cent each year.
  2. Global temperatures are set to rise about 3.2 degrees C by 2100, the report says, bringing catastrophic weather including hotter, deadlier heatwaves and more frequent floods and drought.
  3. The top four emitters (China, USA, EU and India) contributed to over 55% of the total emissions over the last decade, excluding emissions from land-use change such as deforestation.
  4. The rankings would change if land-use change emissions were included, with Brazil likely to be the largest emitter.


Where India stands?

India is the fourth-largest emitter of Green House Gases (GHGs).

It is among a small group of countries that are on their way to achieve their self-declared climate targets under the Paris Agreement.

The report names five key areas that will be decisive in the future:

  1. At least €1.45 billion ($1.59 billion) annual investment in renewables and more efficient energy use.
  2. Coal phaseout.
  3. Decarbonization of transport.
  4. Decarbonization of industry.
  5. Increased access to electricity for 3.5 billion people.



  1. A full decarbonization of the energy sector is necessary and possible.
  2. Renewables and energy efficiency are critical to the energy transition.
  3. The potential emission reduction thanks to renewable energy electricity totals 12.1 gigatonnes by 2050.
  4. Electrification of transport could reduce the sector’s CO2 emissions by a huge 72 per cent by 2050.
  5. Each sector and each country has unique opportunities to harness renewable energy, protect natural resources, lives and livelihoods, and transition to a decarbonization pathway.


Sources: the Hindu.