The Paris Agreement which came into force in 2016 is a legally binding agreement in which almost all nations of the world agreed to put in place policies to keep global climate warming to below 2°C and ideally below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The 2018 IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, that was commissioned as a result of the Paris meeting concluded that:
The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.
This is obviously an incredible challenge. Even a global pandemic and associated ‘shut down’ of some sectors of economic activity only caused a small blip in global emissions, as described in this article.
So what human activities are producing greenhouse gases?
Where can we focus our efforts?
And what about the social justice aspect?
Emissions are currently quite strongly related to GDP, so how can we reduce our emissions while still fulfilling peoples life aspirations?
You can read more about greenhouse gas emissions from Our World in Data here: https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions
And you can look at the emissions over time and the impacts of COVID on the IEA website here: https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/charts/global-energy-related-co2-emissions-1900-2020