Climate Reports

Key reports on climate impacts and solutions from around the United Nations.

What's New

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IPBES and IPCC | Biodiversity and Climate Change

Previous policies have largely tackled biodiversity loss and climate change independently of each other, but neither will be successfully resolved unless both are tackled together. Read the report.

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CDB and the UN Global Compact | Taking the Temperature

G7 stock indexes are not currently on a 1.5°C pathway, but those with science-based targets for reductions have lower overall temperature ratings. Read the report.

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REN21 | Renewables 2021 Global Status Report

The Renewables 2021 Global Status Report shows that the world is nowhere near the necessary paradigm shift towards a renewable energy future, even as the benefits are indisputable. Read the report.

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REN21 | Renewables 2021 Global Status Report

2020 could have been a gamechanger. With economies worldwide ravaged by COVID-19, primary energy demand fell by 4 per cent. Yet G20 countries, the planet’s biggest polluters, barely met or even missed their unambitious renewable energy targets. The Renewables 2021 Global Status Report shows that the world is nowhere near the necessary paradigm shift towards a clean, healthier and more equitable energy future, even as the benefits of renewables are indisputable. In many regions, it is now cheaper to build new wind or solar PV plants than to operate existing coal-fired power plants. The report suggests accelerating the uptake of renewable energy by making it a key performance indicator for every economic activity, budget and public purchase, and adopting clear targets and plans to shift to renewable energy and end fossil fuel use.

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CDB and the UN Global Compact | Taking the Temperature

New research finds that the G7 stock indexes are not currently on a 2°C pathway, much less the 1.5°C one that is so urgently needed. Fossil fuels are a key contributor to the emissions of all seven. Taking the Temperature: Assessing and scaling-up climate ambition in the G7 business sector also finds that indexes with a higher share of emissions covered by science-based targets for reductions result in lower overall temperature ratings. Companies with such targets are already cutting emissions at scale, and despite the findings, momentum for climate action in G7 countries is growing. Overall, 2020 was a milestone year for climate commitments, with the annual rate of adoption of science-based targets doubling compared to 2015-2019. The report maps four key levers that governments, investors and businesses can use to unlock breakthrough climate action through such targets.

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IEA and others | Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report

More people have access to electricity than ever before but unless efforts are scaled up significantly in countries with the largest deficits, the world will still fall short of ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. While more than 1 billion people gained access to electricity globally over the last decade, COVID-19’s financial impact has made basic electricity services unaffordable for 30 million more people, the majority in Africa. Under current and planned policies, and given fallout from the pandemic, an estimated 660 million people would still lack access in 2030. The report examines how to bridge the gaps, such as by significantly scaling up renewable energy. It tracks international public financial flows to developing countries, finding these reached $14 billion for clean and renewable energy in 2018. But only 20 percent went to the least-developed countries, which are furthest from achieving SDG energy targets.

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Climate and Clean Air Coalition and UNEP | Global Methane Assessment

The 2021 Global Methane Assessment shows that human-caused methane emissions can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, avoiding nearly 0.3°C of global warming by 2045. Because methane is a key ingredient in ground-level ozone (smog), a powerful climate forcer and dangerous air pollutant, a 45 per cent reduction would prevent 260,000 premature deaths, 775,000 asthma-related hospital visits, 73 billion hours of lost labour from extreme heat and 25 million tonnes of crop losses annually. Most human-caused methane emissions come from three sectors: fossil fuels, waste and agriculture. The assessment identifies readily available solutions to reduce methane emissions. Half are not only low in cost, but would even make money, such as through reducing leaks in the oil and gas industry.

CCAC/UNEP report
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REN21 | Renewables in Cities 2021 Global Status Report

Cities around the world are accelerating uptake of renewable energy, adopting targets and policies to spur local consumption and generation. This makes a critical contribution to climate action, since cities shelter more than half the global population and use three-quarters of global final energy consumption. REN21’s Renewables in Cities Global Status Report surveys the status and prospects of renewable energy in cities, detailing policies, markets, investments and citizen actions. It puts particular focus on renewables in public, residential and commercial buildings as well as public and private transport. Covering urban areas from towns to mega-cities, the report builds on more than 330 data contributors, and is endorsed by major renewable energy players and city networks.

REN21 Report
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UNEP and others | Are We Building Back Better?

One year into the pandemic, recovery spending has fallen fall short of national commitments to shift to more sustainable investments. A new report finds only 18 per cent of announced recovery spending in 50 leading economies can be considered “green”. That totals about $368 billion of $14.4 trillion in COVID-induced spending on rescue and recovery in 2020. The report calls for governments to invest more sustainably, emphasizing that green recovery can bring stronger economic growth, while helping to meet global environmental targets and addressing structural inequality. To keep decades of progress against poverty from unwinding, low-income countries will require substantial concessional finance from international partners.

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UNEP | Food Waste Index Report 2021

People waste a substantial share of food, which is associated with up to 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Until now, the true scale of food waste and its impacts have not been well understood. Efforts to reduce it have been minimal, despite a global Sustainable Development Goal commitment to halving per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels. The Food Waste Index Report generates a new estimate of global food waste, and offers a methodology for countries to measure the problem and track national progress on reducing it.

UNEP Report
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UNFCCC | Initial NDC Synthesis Report

The Initial NDC Synthesis Report shows nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021. That will be the only way to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise ideally by no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. The report looks at 75 new or updated action plans – known as NDCs – covering around 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Together, they would cut emissions by less than 1 per cent by 2030 compared to 2010 levels. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has indicated that emissions should be around 45 per cent lower.

UNFCCC Report
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Science Based Targets | Progress Report 2020

From Ambition to Impact: How companies are reducing emissions at scale with science-based targets is the first study to look at how setting science-based targets correlates with actually reducing corporate emissions. The study surveyed 338 companies with such targets, finding they have slashed combined emissions by 25 per cent since 2015. Annual emissions declined at a rate exceeding the one required to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Further, 2020 saw a milestone: the doubling of science-based climate commitments.

STBi Report
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UN Environment | Global Climate Litigation Report: 2020 Status Review

The report provides an overview of the current state of climate change litigation globally, finding a rapid increase around the world. In 2017, 884 cases were brought in 24 countries. By July 2020, the number of cases had nearly doubled with at least 1,550 filed in 38 countries. The report shows how climate litigation is compelling governments and corporate actors to purse more ambitious climate change mitigation and adaptation goals. It looks at the role of fundamental human rights connected to a safe climate, and outlines how cases are forcing greater climate disclosures and ending “corporate greenwashing”.

UNEP Report
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UN Environment | Adaptation Gap Report (2020)

The UNEP Adaptation Gap Report 2020 looks at progress in planning for, financing and implementing adaptation, with a focus on nature-based solutions. It finds some advances in planning, but also huge gaps in finance for developing countries. Implementation of adaptation projects lags behind, with many not yet delivering real protection against climate impacts such as droughts, floods and sea-level rise. The report calls for closing the gaps fast, and prioritizing nature-based solutions, or locally appropriate actions offering benefits to people and nature.

UNEP Report
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UN Environment | Emissions Gap Report (2020)

Go green with pandemic recovery packages. That’s the message of the 2020 Emissions Gap Report. It predicts that green recovery could shave emissions by 25 per cent by 2030, bringing the world closer to Paris Agreement goals to limit global warming. Despite a recent dip in emissions from lockdowns and slowing economies, temperatures are still rising at a record clip.

UNEP Report
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UNEP | Production Gap Report

The world must cut fossil fuel production by 6 per cent per year to avoid the worst of global warming. Instead, countries are projecting an average annual increase of 2 per cent. Those are among the sobering findings of the latest Production Gap Report, issued by leading research organizations and the United Nations. The report urges making COVID-19 recovery a turning point, where countries should steer investments into changing course to avoid “locking in” dependence on polluting coal, oil and gas.

UNEP Report
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UN | Report of the Secretary-General (2019)

September’s Climate Action Summit delivered important new actions, a surge in climate momentum, and a clear destination: 45% emissions cuts by 2030 on the way to a carbon neutral world by 2050. The Secretary-General’s report on the outcomes of the Summit highlights the way forward in 2020, and outlines ten priority areas of action.

Report of the Secretary-General
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UN Environment | Emissions Gap Report (2019)

As the world strives to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change, it is crucial to track progress towards globally agreed climate goals. For a decade, UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report has compared where greenhouse gas emissions are heading against where they need to be, and highlighted the best ways to close the gap.

UNEP Report
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UNDP | 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 their national climate plans --Nationally Determined Contributions for the Paris Agreement or NDCs. This report is the most detailed review yet of momentum since the Paris Agreement and is designed to both inspire and inform the UN Climate Action Summit in New York on 23 September.

UNDP report
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IPCC | Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (2019)

The IPCC Special Report highlights the urgency of prioritizing timely, ambitious and coordinated action to address unprecedented and enduring changes in the ocean and cryosphere. Without a radical change in human behavior, hundreds of millions of people could suffer from rising sea levels, frequent natural disasters and food shortages, it warns.

The Special Report provides new evidence for the benefits of limiting global warming to the lowest possible level – in line with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. It also finds that strongly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting and restoring ecosystems, and carefully managing the use of natural resources would make it possible to preserve the ocean and cryosphere.

IPCC Report
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UNFCCC | Climate Action and Support Trends (2019)

The report “Climate Action and Support Trends” was prepared as UN Climate Change input to the UN Climate Action Summit, and it puts a spotlight on the progress made over the past 25 years since the inception of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This can help in scaling up further action, as governments prepare to submit the next round of national climate action plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), by 2020.

UNFCCC Report
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IPCC | Climate Change and Land (2019)

Land is already under growing human pressure and climate change is adding to these pressures. At the same time, keeping global warming to well below 2ºC can be achieved only by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors including land and food, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states in its latest report.

The report provides key scientific input into forthcoming climate and environment negotiations, such as the Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (COP14) in New Delhi, India in September and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Santiago, Chile, in December.

IPCC Report
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UN Environment | Emissions Gap Report (2018)

The flagship report from UN Environment is the definitive assessment of the 'emissions gap' – the gap between anticipated emission levels in 2030, compared to levels consistent with a 2°C / 1.5°C target. It found that global emissions are on the rise as national commitments to combat climate change come up short. But surging momentum from the private sector and untapped potential from innovation and green-financing offer pathways to bridge the emissions gap.

UN Environment Report
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The New Climate Economy (2018)

The next 2-3 years are a critical window when many of the policy and investment decisions that shape the next 10-15 years will be taken. The New Climate Economy report found that leaders are already seizing the exciting economic and market opportunities of the new growth approach, while the laggards are not only missing out on these opportunities but are also putting us all at greater risk. More than US$26 trillion and a more sustainable planet are on offer, if everyone gets on board.

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UN Environment | Making Peace with Nature

Making Peace with Nature lays out the gravity of the Earth’s triple environmental emergencies – climate, biodiversity loss and pollution – through a unique synthesis of findings from major global assessments. It flags interlinkages between environmental and development challenges and describes the roles of all parts of society in the transformations needed for a sustainable future. Advances in science and bold policymaking can open pathways towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and a carbon neutral world by 2050, while bending the curve on biodiversity loss and curbing pollution and waste. Taking that path means innovation and investment only in activities that protect both people and nature; COVID-19 recovery plans are an unmissable opportunity to do so.

UNEP Report
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CBD | The Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 Report (2020)

Despite encouraging progress in several areas, the natural world is suffering badly and getting worse. The Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 (GBO-5) calls for a shift away from “business as usual” across a range of human activities. The report outlines eight transitions that recognize the value of biodiversity, the need to restore the ecosystems on which all human activity de-pends, and the urgency of reducing the negative impacts of such activity. It also shows that governments will need to scale up national ambitions in support of the new Global Biodiversity Framework and ensure that all necessary resources are mobilized, and the enabling environment strengthened.

CBD Report
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UNEP | Global Environment Outlook (2019)

UN Environment’s sixth Global Environment Outlook (2019) calls on decision makers to take immediate action to address pressing environmental issues to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals as well as other Internationally Agreed Environment Goals, such as the Paris Agreement.

By bringing together a community of hundreds of scientists, peer reviewers and collaborating institutions and partners, the GEO reports build on sound scientific knowledge to provide governments, local authorities, businesses and individual citizens with the information needed to guide societies to a truly sustainable world by 2050.

UN Environment Report
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IEA and others | Financing Clean Energy Transitions

Our energy and climate future increasingly hinges on decisions made in emerging market and developing economies, which face the challenge of meeting the aspirations of their citizens while avoiding high-carbon pathways. These economies are set to account for the largest emissions growth in coming decades unless sufficient action is taken to transform their energy systems. Yet efforts to support clean energy in them are faltering. The COVID-19 pandemic has stemmed the flow of new investments and exacerbated imbalances in access to capital. Countries will miss an opportunity to “build back better” unless the flow of new clean energy projects increases dramatically. Financing Clean Energy Transitions in Emerging and Developing Economies analyses the outlook for investment, assesses key issues in attracting finance, and provides advice on how policy reforms and financial mechanisms can mobilize and align private finance.

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UNEP FI | Collective Commitment to Climate Action

A new report outlines how 38 major banks from six continents are putting their portfolios and business practices behind the Collective Commitment to Climate Action. The initiative mobilizes banks to join the transition to a net-zero economy. Members are applying climate science and adopting policies to exclude financing activities that worsen global warming.

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Delivering on the $100 Billion Climate Finance Commitment and Transforming Climate Finance

Meeting the pledge by developed countries to mobilize at least US$100 billion a year to support developing countries in mitigating and adapting to climate change, lagging even before the COVID-19 pandemic, requires urgent action, according to a new report by independent experts released today by the United Nations.

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UNEP | Greening the Blue Report (2020)

The United Nations has released its latest annual stocktaking on its environmental impact. Greening the Blue 2020 finds a downward trend in emissions for nearly 60 UN system entities and 310,000 staff members. It also highlights advances in environmental management.

UNEP Report