Sunday, 24 January 2021

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Climate alert : Much effort needed to reach the goals of Paris

Emissions Gap Report 2018 - UNRIC news cover image | © Photo UNRIC/Cornwell

27 November 2018. Global CO2 emissions increased in 2017 after three years of stagnation.  If this tendency continues global mean temperature will rise 3.2°C by 2100.

The gap is widening between the previsions for 2030 based on current tendencies and what is necessary to limit temperature rise to 2 °C.  In its annual so-called  “Gap Report »,  which is published today, UN Environment estimates that our efforts to reduce CO2 emissions have to be quintupled to achieve the 1.5 degree  goal- set in the 2015 Paris Agreement. It would require three times more effort to keep the increase below 2 degrees.

This Report is based on national plans of CO2 emission reduction by individual states as well as the commitments made according to the Paris Agreement. “It is still possible to keep global warming below 2°C, but the technical feasibility of bridging the 1.5°C gap is dwindling, ” the Report says.

“If the IPCC report represented a global fire alarm, this report is the arson investigation,” said UN Environment Deputy Executive Director Joyce Msuya. “The science is clear; for all the ambitious climate action we’ve seen – governments need to move faster and with greater urgency. We’re feeding this fire while the means to extinguish it are within reach. ”

“The urgent and wide-ranging actions that we need are not yet a reality », according to the Report which proposes fiscal reforms to subsidise low-carbon alternatives and taxes on fossile-fuels.  

The Gap Report is published within days of the publication of a report by the International Meteorological Organization (WMO) which indicated that greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere have reached a new record. 

Carbon dioxide concentrations reached 405.5 ppm in 2017 or 146% of the pre-industrial era (before 1750) and has increased in the last three years.

“The science is clear. Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, climate change will have increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts on life on earth. The window of opportunity for action is almost closed,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

“The last time the earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now,” said Mr Taalas.


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