UN Report: 1.5 Degree Limit to Improve Growth, Jobs and Safety

Nov 16, 2016

Cars form a giant ‘1.5C’ to support the goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement as part of the 2016 World Advanced Vehicle Expedition (WAVE) rally held outside the gates of the UN European headquarters in Geneva in June 2016. Photo: CVF / UNDP

  • Achieving the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C threshold to trigger growth, job creation, and contain risks
  • UNDP and the Climate Vulnerable Forum release joint report at COP 22 in Marrakech

Marrakech — The United Nations Development Programme issued today a report commissioned by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, independently developed together with climate science and policy institute, Climate Analytics, entitled Low Carbon Monitor at the UN Climate Change Conference at Marrakech (UNFCCC COP 22) that examines benefits and opportunities of limiting warming to 1.5°C as enshrined in the goal of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The report’s key findings include the fact that economic growth as measured by GDP would be 10%, or US$12 trillion higher, if the 1.5°C threshold is held, compared to current policies which would see temperature rise to 3°C or more. The report shows that 1.5°C is feasible, requiring global zero CO2 emissions at mid-century and the investment share of renewable power reaching close to 100% of the energy mix.

H.E. Mr. Kare Debassa, State Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of Ethiopia, current Chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, said the 1.5°C limit was a matter of survival for vulnerable countries. “But as developing nations we cannot turn our backs on opportunities for creating jobs, protecting our growth, improving health, and increasing access to energy” he said, adding “we will also thrive working for 1.5.”

Presenting entirely new data, the report indicated that limiting warming to 1.5°C would create 68% more energy-related jobs in 2030 compared with current policies. Renewable energy with off-grid advantages was the key to addressing energy poverty, the report found, while virtually all countries are capable of producing multiples of their current energy needs from renewable sources alone.

For the first time, the report shows that a 1.5°C trajectory reduces by one full month the length of extreme heatwaves each year for most tropical regions by mid-century, while preventing the disappearance of coral reefs and the Greenland ice sheet.

Dr. Michiel Schaeffer, Co-Director, Climate Analytics, and Co-Editor of the report said geophysical and biological impacts and risks increase significantly from 1.5°C to 2°C. “For developed and developing countries alike, the much lower climate change damages in a 1.5°C pathway means that economic
growth opportunities can largely be preserved. In the absence of climate action, these opportunities would be substantially reduced by the 2040s.”

Mr. Matthew McKinnon, Project Manager, United Nations Development Programme said the report was consistent with recent industrial trends by presenting further evidence to dismiss the view that emission cuts would be incompatible with growth. “It’s the exact opposite: climate change is so threatening to growth that not tackling it has become one of the greatest development liabilities we face,” adding that “the challenge now is to ensure widespread access to the full array of benefits of aggressive climate action.”

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Founded in 2009, the Climate Vulnerable Forum is an international partnership of more than 40 nations from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific working to tackle global climate change through collaboration on common goals, communications and the sharing of expertise and experience.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) is a Member State led initiative. UNDP hosts a global support project to assist the CVF’s South-South cooperation activities.

CONTACTS FOR CORRESPONDENTS UNDP/CVF
Ms. Sarah Bel: sarah.bel@undp.org, +41 (0) 22 917 85 44
Mr. Carl Mercer: carl.mercer@undp.org, +1 347 652 5933
Ms. Emily Jay: emily.jay@undp.org,  press@thecvf.org, +41 (0) 22 917 88 27, +41 (0) 79 108 15 57


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