About the product
This eleventh edition of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report has been produced in a year where the COVID-19 crisis has dominated the news and policymaking and has caused immense suffering and economic and social disruption worldwide. This economic disruption has briefly slowed – but far from eliminated – the historic and ever-increasing burden of human activity on the Earth’s climate. This burden is observable in the continuing rise in extreme weather events, including wildfires and hurricanes, and in the melting of glaciers and ice at both poles. The year 2020 has set new records – they will not be the last. As in previous years, this report assesses the gap between estimated future global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions if countries implement their climate mitigation pledges and the global emission levels from least-cost pathways that are aligned with achieving the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement. This difference between “where we are likely to be and where we need to be” is known as the ‘emissions gap’. The report also examines two areas that are highly relevant for bridging the gap and which have become even more relevant in the wake of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic: the shipping and aviation sectors, where international emissions are not covered by nationally determined contributions (NDCs), and lifestyle change. Reflecting the unusual circumstances, the 2020 report deviates from its usual approach of exclusively considering consolidated data from previous years as the basis for assessment. To maximize its policy relevance, preliminary assessments of the implications of the pandemic and associated rescue and recovery measures are included throughout the report.