Emissions Gap Report 2019
UNEP, 2019

The 2019 UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report is the tenth annual report of its kind. It provides an independent and scientific assessment of the emissions gap. This gap is the difference between the predicted global emissions in 2030 and the necessary emissions levels to follow the Paris Agreement and limit warming between 1.5°C and 2.0°C. Countries that have ratified the Paris Agreement are each required to submit a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) that outlines the country’s targets for reducing emissions. For this report, the projected global emissions for 2030 is determined by total emissions if currently submitted NDCs are fulfilled. The 2019 UNEP Emissions Gap Report outlines the importance of more ambitious NDCs and immediate action, as well as discussing Canada’s progress toward emissions reduction.

Despite increasing global awareness, understanding and action regarding climate change the emissions gap in 2019 is larger than ever, and the observed 2% growth in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2018 essentially follows the long-term exponential growth rate of emissions since the start of the industrial revolution. In order to close the emissions gap this report strongly argues for quick reductions in GHG emissions. The longer that action is delayed, faster and more drastic cuts to emissions will be necessary. For example, at this stage to limit the average temperature rise to 1.5°C emissions must be reduced by 7.6% per year from 2020-2030. However, if efforts had begun in 2010 only 3.3% reductions per year would be necessary. In addition, if action is taken now, opportunities to maximize synergies between climate action, economic growth and sustainable development goals remain open. The report highlights one study which found that, when organized correctly, the annual costs of decreasing air pollution, curbing climate change, and improving energy production together would be approximately 40% lower than the sum of the costs if each issue was targeted separately. Yet if action is delayed then the magnitude reductions necessary will create risks to the global economy, food security and biodiversity.

Due to the nature of UN agreements and the role that NDCs play in calculating the emissions gap, the ambition of national targets and whether they are reached are important subjects in the report. To close the emissions gap, NDCs on average must be more ambitious. In fact, to limit the average temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, NDCs must aim for a five-fold greater reduction in emissions than their current targets. With the current targets, if all NDCs were implemented, there would still be a 3.2°C rise in global temperature.

The Emissions Gap Report shows that Canada’s performance is mixed but in general needs improvement. Canada is on track to have GHG emissions 15% above the country’s NDC target. On the other hand, Canada also receives positive mentions for committing to the process of a full coal phase-out with a just transition plan, as well as being one of only seven G20 members to submit a long-term low emissions development strategy.

The 2019 UNEP Emissions Gap Report is an important document that assesses how far global emissions are projected to stray from where they ought to be in order to limit average temperature rise and the worst impacts of climate change. The 2019 report shows that the emissions gap is continuing to grow, and more immediate emission reductions are needed in order to follow the least-costly-path forward and meet Paris Agreement goals. Canada is set to significantly miss our NDC target, and global NDCs are generally not ambitious enough. This year’s report and developments will shine a global spotlight on governments as new and updated NDCs are to be submitted in 2020.

Find the full report here.


1. United Nations Environment Programme. Emissions Gap Report 2019. UNEP, 2019,Nairobi. available from https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/30797/EGR2019.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Who We Are

Shake Up The Establishment is a youth-led, registered (#1190975-4) national non-partisan non-profit organization that operates within the geographical confines of what is currently known as "Canada", but what is referred to by its First Peoples, as Turtle Island. Indigenous peoples have inhabited Turtle Island for over 10,000 years, and were the sole inhabitants less than 500 years ago. We acknowledge that our address resides on Treaty 3 land, and is the traditional territory of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas Peoples. Turtle Island is still home to many Indigenous peoples and we at SUTE are thankful to be able to live, learn and work on this territory, whilst continuing to create meaningful change for the climate justice movement. We are aware that our actions as an organization and the work we put out have an impact on our land, and on all that inhabit it. We are humbled to be able to follow the lead of centuries long Indigenous-led efforts towards the protection and stewardship of this land and the people that inhabit it. We are committed to continually evaluating & decolonizing our practices, and we do our best to incorporate the lived experiences of the land defenders and protectors within our work. We also want to honour the voices of Black, and non-Black people of colour within our work, and continually recognize their resiliency in the face of years of systemic oppression as imposed by the Canadian state.


Our enterprise is inclusive of all folx who call the geographical confines of what is currently known as Canada, home, and we celebrate the horizontal learning that comes from our diverse identities. As an organization, we will try our utmost best to ensure that only individuals with lived experiences are speaking on behalf of their communities, while still recognizing that Black, Indigenous and communities of colour as well as the LGBTQ2S+ community, are not a monolith. We firmly believe in accountability, and commit to being as transparent as possible in our activism space; to research our topics well, support and centre community care, and minimize any harm, no matter the intent. We have strict policies and procedures to uphold these tenets, and update these on a yearly (or as-needed) basis.

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