United Nations
Environment Programme

Publications

Narrowing the Emissions Gap

This first report comes in the critical window between the agreement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and final negotiations on climate change at COP21. As well as examining the challenges of attributing reductions to individual actions, it provides an overview of energy efficiency and renewable energy activities in developing countries and uses case studies to illustrate their impact on current emission levels. While this report clearly demonstrates significant benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency in developing countries, it also highlights untapped potential gains, which the Coalition aims to describe more fully in future reports.

For example, REN21’s Global Status Report 2015 states that 164 countries have defined renewable energy targets in 2015, including 131 developing and emerging economies, meaning developing countries have a great capacity to contribute to emissions reductions. The extent to which this is being realized is of more than academic interest. Good examples and positive stories about renewable energy and energy efficiency are motivating more and more countries to take action

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10 Key Messages on Climate Change

This note draws on the findings of the United Nations’ expert panel on natural resources – the International Resource Panel (IRP) – to highlight some key policy-relevant messages on how sustainable management of natural resources can contribute to global efforts to combat climate change.

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Green Energy Choices: The Benefits, Risks and Trade-Offs of Low-Carbon Technologies for Electricity Production; Summary for Policy Makers

This summary report highlights key findings from the report of the International Resource Panel: Green Energy Choices: The Benefits, Risks and Trade-Offs of Low-Carbon Technologies for Electricity Production. Meeting the rising energy demands of a growing world population presents an ideal opportunity to make technology choices that take into account, and to the extent possible, mitigate negative impacts on the climate, environmental and human health.

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The Emissions Gap Report 2015 – Executive Summary

The year 2015 has the potential to become a turning point in global efforts to transform the prevailing social and economic development paradigm into a more sustainable one. The global community reached agreement in September 2015 on a set of 17 sustainable development goals to be achieved by 2030, including climate change. Countries will meet again at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris with the aim of establishing a new global agreement on climate change, hereafter the ‘Paris Agreement’, with the ambition of limiting changes in global temperatures to below 2 °C or 1.5 °C warming in 2100 compared to pre-industrial levels.

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The Emissions Gap Report 2014: A UNEP Synthesis Report

This year’s report presents the latest estimates of the emissions gap in 2020 and beyond and provides information about:  

  • current and projected levels of global greenhouse gas emissions, both in the absence of additional policies and consistent with national pledge implementation; 
  • the implications of starting decided emission reductions now or in the coming decades; and 
  • how energy efficiency measures can help promote development while contributing to emission reductions.

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The Adaptation Gap Report 2014

This first UNEP Adaptation Gap Report provides a framework for defining adaptation gaps and a preliminary assessment of the gap between adaptation needs and reality. It proposes an approach for identifying and assessing the current state and action in key adaptation areas, and comparing these with the potential now, and in the future, for additional adaptation to reduce risks. The report is a response to calls for UNEP to produce a report on adaptation gaps to complement the annual Emissions Gap report.

Although adaptation is often a response to specific climate risks at a given time and in a given context, the preliminary analysis in the Adaptation Gap Report highlights that adaptation challenges also require global action. The UNEP Adaptation Gap Report 2014 will support discussions under the UNFCCC, including on adaptation aspects of the 2015 agreement, the discussion on defining a global goal for adaptation, aspects of loss and damage, and the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process.

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Climate Commitments of Subnational Actors and Business: A Quantitative Assessment of their Emission Reduction Impact

Initiatives which catalyse climate action are now recognised increasingly as playing an important role in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and bridging the global emissions gap. The number and range of these initiatives is growing rapidly. There are several open questions about these initiatives at a global scale, including what contribution they can make to closing the emissions gap, but also what makes a successful initiative and how can this be replicated and scaled up. This paper focuses on the first of these questions. 

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