In its first major assessment of progress made on the 2015 Paris Agreement goals, the United Nations warned Friday that the world is “not on track” to meet any of the long-term targets set in the landmark climate treaty. According to the U.N., countries are falling short in efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), to adapt to climate impacts, and to provide enough climate financing to developing countries. 

The report marks “a truly damning report card for global climate efforts,” Ani Dasgupta, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute, said in a statement. “Carbon emissions? Still climbing. Rich countries’ finance commitments? Delinquent. Adaptation support? Lagging woefully behind.”

The report is the result of two years of intense negotiations between governments, experts, and nonprofits, reflecting hundreds of thousands of pages of written input. Its comprehensive review of global climate action finds that current emissions reduction goals set by governments worldwide fall short in both ambition and follow-through. 

“There is a rapidly narrowing window to raise ambition and implement existing commitments in order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees C {2.7 degrees F} above pre-industrial levels,” report authors cautioned.

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In addition to reviewing progress made, the report also identified areas for policymakers to take further action. It called for countries to set more ambitious targets for reducing emissions and to implement them as soon as possible. The report also said leaders should involve “those most affected by climate impacts” while crafting policies, including young people, women, and Indigenous peoples. 

Other key recommendations include “phasing out all unabated fossil fuels,” investing in and building out renewable energy, and ending deforestation. The U.N. noted that while there’s been encouraging progress in renewable energy development, with solar power and electric vehicle deployment growing over 10 and 100 times respectively, the benefits of clean technology have been largely concentrated in wealthier, more developed nations. 

Meanwhile, global investment in “emissions-intensive” activities continues to grow. To respond to the climate crisis, the U.N. said, countries will need to redirect trillions in subsidies from fossil fuels toward renewable technologies and climate adaptation.

Last year, those investments reached a record high. According to the International Monetary Fund, government subsidies for oil, coal, and natural gas totaled $7 trillion in 2022. While tax breaks and other subsidies are often provided to lower consumer energy bills, they can also further delay an already overdue energy transition. 

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“The removal of fossil fuel subsidies is a key strategy for addressing structural economic barriers that can perpetuate inertia to change and prevent cost-effective low-carbon alternatives from being adopted at scale,” the U.N. report stated.

The report’s findings will likely be central to discussions at this year’s upcoming UN climate summit, COP28, in Dubai. There, negotiators are expected to review previous emissions reductions commitments made by countries and submit revised targets in light of the report. Countries are expected to hammer out the details of a new “loss and damage” fund, which aims to funnel money from wealthier nations to developing countries that experience the brunt of climate impacts.

But some environmental advocates, including prominent U.N. figures, have grown disenchanted with the lack of progress made at the annual conferences. Christiana Figueres, a former executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, called the upcoming COP in Dubai a “circus.”

“The Paris Agreement is good for nothing if it is not financed and executed,” Figueres said at the Sarawak Renewable Energy Forum in Malaysia this week. “Honestly, I would prefer 90,000 people stay at home and do their job.”

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