Greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut dramatically every year for the next decade to stand a decent chance of keeping global warming to a "safe" level, a United Nations report has warned.
In its latest assessment of the climate crisis, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) says delaying action by even one year will mean emissions need to be cut even faster and at greater cost - with a dwindling chance of success.
Inger Andersen, UNEP's executive director, said it is an urgent problem as "we need to catch up on the years in which we procrastinated".
Latest statistics show the equivalent of 55.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere last year as a result of burning fossil fuels and other human impacts on the planet, such as deforestation.
That is up from 53.5 billion tonnes the previous year, despite increasing pressure on world leaders to act.
The UN report calculates that emissions need to be more than halved to just 25 billion tonnes by 2030 to stand a 66% chance of keeping the rise in average global temperature to 1.5C.
It would mean cutting emissions by 7.6% every year for the next decade.