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Climate Change

Major reports from the UN System on Climate Change

Yearbook of Global Climate Action 2019

This third Yearbook, published in November 2019, and produced by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, under the guidance of the High-Level Climate Champions for Climate Action and with the support of the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, reflects the state of global climate action by non-Party stakeholders – defined as businesses, cities and regions, and civil society – and brings key messages to encourage bold and courageous climate action.

UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2019

For a decade, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has brought scientists from across the globe together in the Emissions Gap Report process to compare global greenhouse trajectories against levels consistent with achieving global climate goals, and to highlight the best ways to close the gap (see here the Emissions Gap Report 10 year summary). In the 2019 report, released 26 November 2019, UNEP warns that unless global greenhouse gas emissions fall by 7.6% each year between 2020 and 2030, the world will miss the opportunity to get on track towards the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement (see HERE for 10 key things about the report). The full report in English, as well as Executive Summary in the six official UN languages and other materials, are available HERE.

ICAT Assessment Guides

Published in November 2019 by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and prepared by the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT), the Introduction to the ICAT Assessment Guides provides an overview of how to use this series of guides which help users asses the impacts of countries' climate policies and actions by providing methodologies to assess greenhouse gases, sustainable development and transformational impacts of polices and actions.

IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

The IPCC approved and accepted the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate at its 51st Session held on 20 – 23 September 2019. The approved Summary for Policymakers (SPM) was presented at a press conference on 25 September 2019. The report highlights the urgency of prioritizing timely, ambitious and coordinated action to address unprecedented and enduring changes in the ocean and cryosphere. The report reveals the benefits of ambitious and effective adaptation for sustainable development and, conversely, the escalating costs and risks of delayed action.

United in Science

Science Advisory Group of the UN Climate Action Summit 2019, September 2019: The High-level synthesis report of latest climate science information assembles the key scientific findings of recent work undertaken by major partner organizations in the domain of global climate change research, including the World Meteorological Organization, UN Environment, Global Carbon Project, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Future Earth, Earth League and the Global Framework for Climate Services. The Report provides a unified assessment of the state of our Earth system under the increasing influence of anthropogenic climate change, of humanity’s response thus far and of the far-reaching changes that science projects for our global climate in the future.

WMO Statement on the state of the Global Climate

Since 1993, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), through the Commission for climatology and in cooperation with its Members, has issued annual statements on the status of the global climate to provide credible scientific information on climate and its variability. In December 2019 at COP25, WMO released the Provisional Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2019, that reports the global average temperature in 2019 (January to October) was about 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial period. The WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2019, released March 2020, shows climate change is having a major effect on all aspects of the environment, and on the health and wellbeing of the global population, warning the world is not on track to meet targets of the Paris Agreement.

The Global Climate in 2015-2019

This World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report from September 2019 determines that the global average temperature has increased by 1.1°C since the pre-industrial period, and by 0.2°C compared to 2011-2015. Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have increased to record levels, locking in the warming trend for generations to come. See press release here. The climate statement – which covers until July 2019 - was released as part of a high-level synthesis report United in Science under the umbrella of the Science Advisory Group of the UN Climate Summit 2019.

Report of the Secretary-General on the 2019 Climate Action Summit and the Way Forward in 2020

Published in December 2019, the report reflects on the Secretary-General's Call to Action, what the September 2019 UN Climate Summit achieved, and next steps, including a description of multi-stakeholder initiatives and individual pledges announced at the summit.

WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin

Published 25 November 2019 by the World Metereological Organization (WMO), the 15th WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin showed that globally averaged concentrations of carbon dioxide reached 407.8 parts per million (ppm) in 2018, up from 405.5 ppm in 2017. According to the WMO, levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached another new record high, and the continuing long-term trend means that future generations will be confronted with increasingly severe impacts of climate change. See HERE for previous issues of the Bulletin.

The Production Gap Report

This November 2019 report, a collaboration of the Stockholm Environment Institute, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Overseas Development Institute, Climate Analytics, Center for International Climate Research, and the United Nations Environment Programme, is an "assessment of countries' plans and outlooks for fossil fuel production, and what is need to align this production with climate objectives", limiting warming to 1.5°C or 2°C.

UNDP Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) - Global Outlook Report 2019

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Climate Change (UNFCCC) have been working together since 2014 to support countries in developing Nationally Determined Contributions - or NDCs. This report, leveraging those relationships and history, is the most detailed review yet of momentum since the Paris Agreement, designed to both inspire and inform the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit.

Country progress on Climate Change Education, Training and Public Awareness

This December 2019 UNESCO report analyzes relevant country submissions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The report found that while nearly all countries have committed to climate change education, actual progress is currently hard to monitor owing to a lack of data, and that important gaps remain. Addressing gaps will be crucial to mobilize the power of education in response to the climate change emergency.

2019 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction Sector

December 2019 report prepared by the International Energy Agency (IEA) for the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), and coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme, looking at working towards a zero-emission, efficient and resilient buildings and construction sector.

Climate Change and Migration in Vulnerable Countries

Climate Change and Migration in Vulnerable Countries: a snapshot of least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States is a 2019 report published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).

UNCTAD Trade and Development Report 2019 : Financing a Global Green New Deal

This September 2019 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development affirms that in order to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, we must find the political will to change the rules of the international economic game and adopt policies that scale up resources for a big investment push led by the public sector. It notes that a changing climate is already causing severe damage and that decarbonizing the global economy will require a significant rise in public investment especially in clean transport, energy and food systems, supported by effective industrial policies, with targeted subsidies, tax incentives, loans and guarantees, and accelerated investments in research, development and technology adaptation.

IPCC Special Report on Climate Change, Desertification, Land Degradation, Sustainable Land Management, Food Security, and Greenhouse gas fluxes in Terrestrial Ecosystems

This Special Report on Climate Change and Land by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published in August 2019 responds to the Panel decision in 2016 to prepare three Special Reports during the Sixth Assessment cycle, taking account of proposals from governments and observer organizations. This report addresses greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes in land-based ecosystems, land use and sustainable land management in relation to climate change adaptation and mitigation, desertification, land degradation and food security.

AR5: Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC

Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2014

The Synthesis Report (SYR) of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) provides an overview of the state of knowledge concerning the science of climate change, emphasizing new results since the publication of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) in 2007.

Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis

The Working Group I contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides a comprehensive assessment of the physical science basis of climate change since 2007 when the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) was released.

AR5 Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability

The assessment of impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability in the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (WGII AR5) evaluates how patterns of risks and potential benefits are shifting due to climate change since 2007 when the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) was released.

AR5 Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change

The Working Group III contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) assesses literature on the scientific, technological, environmental, economic and social aspects of mitigation of climate change since 2007 when the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) was released.

Non-UN reports and selected articles on Climate Change

Major recent reports from the UN System - related areas

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