How Much Farther Do We Have to Go to Solve Climate Change?

Research Tidbit #6, where I learn what’s in the 2021 Emissions Gap Report.

Deepti Kannapan
6 min readApr 4, 2022
Photo by Claudia Altamimi on Unsplash

As part of the reading project I set myself for the past few months, I’m reading the 2021 Emissions Gap Report (EGR) that came out from the UN before COP26.

I wanted to know the specifics of what needs to be done in mitigating climate change, and how far we have to go to get there.

I’m also looking for specific opportunities for regular people like us to get involved, whether that’s through advocacy, careers, volunteering, or research.

I started off by reading the introductory sections: the Foreward, Glossary, Executive Summary, and Introduction.

I eased into it because I didn’t really know what was going to be of interest to me. I did take a skim earlier that helped formulate my questions, but that was about all I knew.

I’ve split my posts about this report by chapter, so expect subsequent posts covering each of the remaining chapters in greater depth.

Questions I had going in

I wanted to know the main areas of potential improvement.

  • What is needed in each sector?
  • How much investment is there already?
  • How can I (we) participate in these improvements, through our jobs, volunteer work, personal lives, communication, or lifestyle?

What I learned

I learned a couple of useful concepts about global goals, actions, and projections.

High-level goals that will get us to success

There are several distinct high-level goals, each with their own deadlines, that we need to achieve if we want to limit warming to 1.5 deg C in 2100. (There are corresponding goals for limiting warming to 2 deg C, so it’s not an all-or-nothing goal, but let’s aim high, er, low, and go for the 1.5.)

Goal 1: Annual Emissions Cuts. We need to cut annual GHG emissions by 55% percent. The deadline for that is 2030. That’s why people are…



Deepti Kannapan

Painter, occasional cartoonist, aerospace engineer. Writes about sustainable technology, creativity, and journaling.