While the 2015 Paris Agreement has inspired widespread action to reduce emissions and accelerate the transition to clean energy, investment levels need to rise three-to-six times current levels to stave off the worst impacts of global climate change, according to a United Nations (UN) report released Friday.

As the UN's first “global stocktake”, the report aims to assess the world’s progress towards meeting emissions goals set in the 2015 climate agreement to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels while inspiring greater ambition and implementation.

“This global stocktake report provides clear direction on how we can meet the expectations of the Paris Agreement by taking decisive action in this critical decade,” said Sultan Al Jaber, president-designate COP28.

“We need to triple renewable energy by 2030, commercialise other zero carbon solutions like hydrogen and scale up the energy system free of all unabated fossil fuels, while we eliminate the emissions of the energies we use today,” he added.

The stocktake report was released in anticipation of the COP28 meeting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates scheduled for 30 November until 12 December this year.

The landmark climate Paris Agreement targets slashing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 43% by 2030 and 60% by 2035 compared with 2019 levels and reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 globally.

The agreement “has driven near-universal climate action by setting goals and sending signals to the world regarding the urgency” of the crisis, but “much more is needed now on all fronts”, the stocktake noted.

“Global emissions are not in line with modelled global mitigation pathways consistent with the temperature goal”, and the window is “rapidly narrowing”, it warned.

Central to getting back on track is “scaling up renewable energy and phasing out all unabated fossil fuels”, the report said, where nearly three quarters of total global mitigation could be derived.

Steep declines in the cost of renewable energy, led by solar power and storage dropping 85% and wind energy by 55%, “has resulted in a significant increase in their deployment”.

“Strengthening power grids and storage is critical to unlocking the potential for renewable energy sources,” the stocktake noted.

However, emissions intensive energy systems likewise continue to grow, the report warns, and the world needs to ramp investment in clean energy three-to-six times current levels to curtail catastrophic temperature increases.

“A rapid reduction of the world economy’s reliance on fossil fuels towards clean energy is central for reaching global net zero CO2 and GHG emissions,” the report said.

“While the catalytic role of the Paris Agreement and the multilateral process will remain vital in the coming years, the global stocktake is a critical moment for greater ambition and accelerating action,” said Simon Stiell, executive secretary of UN Climate Change.