The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released its annual report on the rate of global progress in cutting greenhouse gas emissions at 3:30AM ET on Friday, November 6. So far, 156 countries have submitted climate action plans (also known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs), covering almost 87 percent of global emissions. The UNEP Emissions Gap report is expected to indicate that the INDCs, combined with current global policies already in place, would result in substantial reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, moving the direction of the global economy significantly closer to the cost-optimal pathway for holding warming under 2˚C.
One of the big questions facing the negotiations is whether the agreement arrived at in 2015 should direct climate action for decades to come, and if so, how. This question has become starkly relevant as it is now clear that the recently submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) will only direct global action for 10 years, and will only push global action part of the way towards the 2˚C pathway.