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Global Carbon Neutrality Should be Reached by Second Half of Century


Bridging the Gap

The 2014 Emissions Gap Report defines the emissions gap as the difference between emission levels in 2025 and 2030 consistent with meeting climate targets versus the levels expected if country pledges are met.

Scientists estimate the gap in 2020 at up to 10 Gt CO2 and in 2030 at up to 17 Gt CO2. Relative to business-as-usual emissions in 2030 (68 Gt CO2), the gap is even bigger at 26 Gt CO2.

Despite the fact that the gap is not getting smaller, the report estimates that it could be bridged if available global emissions reductions are fully exploited: the potential for emissions reductions in 2030 (relative to business-as-usual emissions) is estimated to be 29 Gt CO2.

The Cost of Delayed Action

Postponing rigorous action until 2020 will provide savings on mitigation costs in the near-term but will bring much higher costs later on in terms of:

  • Higher rates of global emissions reductions in the medium-term;
  • Lock-in of carbon-intensive infrastructure;
  • Dependence on using all available mitigation technologies in the medium-term;
  • Greater costs of mitigation in the medium- and long-term, and greater risks of economic disruption;
  • Reliance on negative emissions; and
  • Greater risks of failing to meet the 2°C target, which would lead to substantially higher adaptation challenges and costs. 

Energy Efficiency and the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Not only does energy efficiency reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions, but it can also increase productivity and sustainability through the delivery of energy savings, and support social development by increasing employment and energy security.

For example:

It is estimated that between 2015 and 2030, energy efficiency improvements worldwide could avoid at least 2.5-3.3 Gt CO2 annually.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that end-use fuel and electricity efficiency could save 6.8 Gt CO2, and power generation efficiency and fossil fuel switching could save another 0.3 Gt CO2 by 2030.

Countries and other actors are already applying policies that are beneficial to both sustainable development and climate mitigation. About half the countries in the world have national policies for promoting more efficient use of energy in buildings.

About half are working on raising the efficiency of appliances and lighting.

Other national policies and measures are promoting electricity generation with renewable energy, reducing transport demand and shifting transport modes, reducing process-related emissions from industry, and advancing sustainable agriculture.

The Sustainable Development Goals being discussed show the many close links between development and climate change mitigation goals.

For example, efforts to eradicate energy poverty, promote universal access to cleaner forms of energy, and double energy efficiency – if fully realized – would go a long way towards putting the world on a path consistent with the climate target.


Click here to read/download the Full Report.


Source: UNEP.



  • The Emissions Gap Report 2014 assesses a vast amount of scientific literature on climate change mitigation, including scenarios from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.
  • The 2014 Report was launched in Washington D.C., Wednesday, 19 November 2014, as well as in Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Mexico City and New Delhi where parallel launch events were organized.
  • The 2013 and 2014 reports were funded by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.



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