Photo: UN Environment

Providing knowledge to policymakers


The Emissions Gap Report is an annual scan of the difference between international commitments and the ambition needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals. The 2018 edition, released before the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, found that nations must triple their efforts if we are to keep global warming below 2°C. Global emissions reached a new high of 53.5 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2017. Only 57 countries are on track to peak emissions by 2030. But momentum from the private sector, innovation and green financing can bridge the gap.


While minimizing climate change is crucial, the world also has to prepare for some unavoidable impacts. The fourth UN Environment Adaptation Gap Report revealed a big gap between preparedness and the measures needed to protect communities from increasing climate risks. There is, however, growth in national laws and policies that address adaptation: at least 162 countries explicitly address adaptation at a national level, through 110 laws and 330 policies.


The Inclusive Wealth Report is led by UN Environment to evaluate the sustainability of nations’ economies and the well-being of their citizens. A country’s inclusive wealth is the social value of all its assets, including natural resources, human capital and production. The 2018 report shows that 44 out of 140 countries reviewed have suffered a decline in inclusive wealth per capita since 1992, despite gross domestic product growth. However, growth in inclusive wealth per capita in 81 countries puts them on a sustainable path.


The UN Environment-hosted International Resource Panel launched two major pieces of research. “Re-defining Value – The Manufacturing Revolution” finds that if products were remanufactured, refurbished, repaired and reused, the amount of new material needed could be significantly reduced. Such value-retention processes could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in some sectors by 79 to 99 per cent.

“The Weight of Cities: Resource Requirements of Future Urbanization” calls for policymakers to treat resource efficiency with the same importance as climate policy to create cities that are low-carbon and resource-efficient. The annual amount of natural resources used by urban areas could grow from 40 billion tonnes in 2010 to 90 billion tonnes by 2050 if changes are not made to how cities are built and designed.

Browse our publications