We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

 If you are unable to listen to this audio, please update your browser or click here to download [7.3 MB] 

Over the past decades, global greenhouse gas emissions have risen steadily. This year, ahead of the UN’s COP 21 climate summit, countries pledged contributions towards global climate mitigation. But their combined commitments add up to only an estimated 45 per cent of what’s needed to limit global warming.
We talk to UN Environment Programme (UNEP) chief scientist Jacqueline McGlade as her organisation releases a study that says the world must reach zero net emissions sometime between 2060 and 2075 if global warming is to be kept below the two degree Celsius cap deemed necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Zero net emissions doesn’t mean that all carbon emissions must cease. Instead, for each unit of greenhouse gas emitted, another must be removed from the atmosphere. But UNEP estimates that the world needs to more than double the mitigation actions made in this year’s pledges to ensure the two degree ceiling isn’t breached.
To do so, countries must deploy so-called negative emission technologies at scale. Among them, tree planting is one way to capture carbon dioxide, but carbon capture and storage, which artificially removes emissions from the atmosphere and stores them underground, is deemed crucial too, and it is still at an early stage of development.
Adding to this challenging scenario, this week at COP 21 a new, more ambitious vision is gaining momentum. Negotiators and campaigners are calling for the warming target to be reduced to 1.5 degrees.
In this interview, McGlade talks about the new target, the need for negative emission technologies and what is at stake for vulnerable countries.


The emissions gap report 2015 (UNEP, 6 December 2015)