Even if all nations fulfill their pledged carbon cuts, the global average temperature will increase 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, according to a UN assessment released on Friday, a rise that will likely aggravate severe wildfires, droughts, and floods.
The country-by-country research determined that that amount of warming, compared to preindustrial levels, is expected to increase the frequency of lethal heat waves and endanger coastal towns with rising sea levels.
It demonstrates that "the world is on a disastrous path," according to UN Secretary General António Guterres.
Studying the Latest Assessment
The new research highlighted the significant disparity between what the scientific consensus wants world leaders to do and what those leaders have been ready to undertake thus far. As a result, emissions of global-warming gases are expected to rise by 16 percent this decade, compared to 2010 levels, although recent scientific research shows that they must fall by at least a quarter by 2030 to avoid the worst effects of global warming.
When the world's presidents and prime ministers convene for the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly next week, Guterres is sure to emphasize the urgency. It will hang big over the meeting of the world's 20 largest economies, known as the Group of 20, in Rome in late October and then over the United Nations-led international climate negotiations in Scotland in November.
However, as President Biden demonstrated at a virtual conference he convened on Friday to encourage governments to make ambitious promises, talks don't always produce outcomes. As a result, several critical emitting nations, including China, dispatched mid-level envoys.
Science is Yelling
In a statement, Christiana Figueres, a former director of the UN climate agency, said, "Now science is yelling from the rooftops that it's time to level up efforts in order of magnitude sufficient to the problem." "If we do not respond to the existential challenge that climate change poses, all other geopolitical concerns will dissolve into irrelevance."
Under the Paris Agreement, which was signed in 2015 to prevent the worst climate consequences, almost 200 nations have made voluntary promises to limit or slow down emissions of planet-warming gases. Some countries, including some of the world's largest polluters, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, have since increased their promises.
New promises from 70 nations still lack, including China, which produces the biggest share of greenhouse gas emissions, and Saudi Arabia and India, both massive economies with substantial climate impacts. On the other hand, Brazil, Mexico, and Russia have all filed revised promises with lower emissions objectives than before.
The research reveals that all of these promises fall well short of what is required to restrict global temperature rise to levels that avoid the worst effects of warming. When it was signed in 2015, the Paris Agreement established a goal of keeping average temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, relative to preindustrial levels.
Since then, a scientific agreement has been that the rise should be confined to 1.5 degrees Celsius; above that threshold, there is a far larger risk of disastrous effects, such as widespread crop failures and the collapse of polar ice sheets. Since the late 1800s, global temperatures have risen by roughly 1 degree Celsius.
For its part, the United States, which has produced the largest share of global emissions since the dawn of the industrial age, has pledged to reduce emissions by 50% to 52% below 2005 levels by the end of this decade, a goal that falls short of the European Union and the United Kingdom's commitments.
A Particularly Challenging Situation
But it's already proving tricky, especially politically, and it's unclear if Biden will be able to persuade members of Congress to approve substantial climate legislation before he travels to the UN Climate Change Conference in November.
Biden urged the leaders of nine nations and the European Commission to move quicker and more aggressively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during a White House conference on Friday known as the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate. He also stated that the US and Europe had agreed to assist cut global methane emissions by 30% by 2030, and he invited other countries to join them. After carbon dioxide, methane is the second most abundant greenhouse gas.
Biden reminded leaders, "We don't have much time," citing recent catastrophic weather disasters like storms, floods, and wildfires across the US, flooding in Germany and Belgium, fires blazing in Australia and Russia, and a record temperature in the Arctic Circle.
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