The UN Secretary-General has warned that countries are "utterly failing" to meet the Paris climate agreement's goals, the latest pessimistic assessment coming just days before the start of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

Despite a flurry of new climate pledges in the last week, including from Saudi Arabia and Australia, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a speech that the world was "still on track for climate catastrophe."

“These announcements are for 2050 [or 2060], so it not clear how they will materialise,” he said, criticising the lack of detail in the plans. Obviously an announcement for 2060, without a programme for how to get there, well, it has the value that it has,” he said, without naming any specific country.

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According to research published on Tuesday by the UN Environment Programme, existing climate pledges for the next decade put the world on track for 2.7 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100.

According to the report, if the world's major emitters, such as the United States and China, achieve their net zero greenhouse gas emissions targets by mid-century, warming will be reduced to about 2.2 degrees Celsius.

The 2015 Paris climate agreement, signed by 197 countries, aims to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius.

However, most countries with net zero targets do not yet have the policies to back up their goals, according to Thomas Hale, associate professor at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford university and one of the UNEP report authors.