Published: Sun, December 02, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Global warming outpacing efforts to slow it

Global warming outpacing efforts to slow it

To cap global warming at two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), national carbon-cutting pledges annexed to the 2015 Paris Agreement must collectively triple by 2030, according to the UN Environment Programme's (UNEP) Emissions Gap report.

Increased emissions and lagging action means the gap between what is likely to happen and what needs to be done to avoid unsafe climate change is larger this year than ever.

The US President confused the weather with climate change last week and refuses to believe about the existence of the latter when mentioning in one of his tweets that: "Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS - Whatever happened to Global Warming?".

"Thankfully, the potential of using fiscal policy as an incentive is increasingly recognized", said Dr. Liu, referring to the 51 initiatives already in place or planned across the world to charge for carbon emissions (called "carbon pricing"). "If all fossil fuel subsidies were phased out, global carbon emissions could be reduced by up to 10% by 2030". "At US$70 per ton of CO2, emission reductions of up to 40 per cent are possible in some countries".

Boosting carbon-cutting efforts is high on the agenda at United Nations climate talks starting next week in Katowice, though host country Poland has let it be known that its top priority is finalizing the "rulebook" for the Paris Agreement, which enters into force in 2020.

These two steps mark the culmination of key processes begun under the Paris Agreement, reinforcing the importance of next month's 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In fact, the report states that the current emission targets for all countries would result in an average global temperature rise of 3.2 degrees Celsius (5.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100. But the gap between where we are and where we need to be also grew on paper: new calculations by the UN's top science panel sharply reduce the real-world potential for drawing Carbon dioxide out of the air, whether by planting more trees or capturing and storing Carbon dioxide emitted by power plants.

"If the IPCC report represented a global fire alarm, this report is the arson investigation", UNEP deputy executive director Joyce Msuya said in a statement.

'The science is clear; for all the ambitious climate action we have seen - governments need to move faster and with greater urgency.

"Global peaking of emissions by 2020 is crucial for achieving the temperature targets of the Paris Agreement", the report states, "but the scale and pace of current action remains insufficient".

"It is in Europe's interest to stop spending on fossil fuel imports and invest in meaningful improvements to the daily lives of all Europeans", he added.

UNEP stresses that while "surging momentum from the private sector" and "untapped potential from innovation and green-financing" offer "pathways" to bridge the emissions gap globally, the "technical feasibility" of limiting global warming to 1.5°C "is dwindling". "Of course, we want the Paris Agreement to be mentioned, but we want it to be mentioned, encompassing everyone, albeit in an ambiguous way", he said.

Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said while the growth of emissions in 2017 was a major challenge to governments, the report also showed "decoupling" of emissions from economic growth was continuing, with pollution growing by much less than the global economy.

The report is expected to be discussed at a United Nations conference on climate change that will open in Poland on Sunday.

Like this: