World is off track on reducing emissions, U.N. report finds
Based on current progress and climate pledges, the world will experience a warming of anywhere between 2.1 to 2.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the century
Countries are falling behind in their efforts to reduce emissions as climate change brings on disastrous droughts, heatwaves and rainfall, according to the latest United Nations report.
The assessment also shed light on the health consequences of rising temperatures, including higher mortality rates, pregnancy complications and heart disease, while the drier soil could impact agriculture and local ecosystems.
What does the U.N. climate change report reveal?
Based on current progress and climate pledges, the world will experience a warming of anywhere between 2.1 to 2.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, a number that is higher than the established upper limit of 1.5 degrees set during the Paris Agreement.
There is some improvement: emissions will increase by 10.6% by 2030, which is less than last year’s estimate of 13.7%.
This year’s assessment, conducted by 99 experts, also indicated that emissions will no longer increase after 2030 but there isn’t a “rapid downward trend science says is necessary this decade,” the release added.
Simon Stiell, the executive secretary of U.N. Climate Change, acknowledged the progress while assessing what still needs to be done to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“We are still nowhere near the scale and pace of emission reductions required to put us on track toward a 1.5 degrees Celsius world,” he said, adding, “To keep this goal alive, national governments need to strengthen their climate action plans now and implement them in the next eight years.”
Meanwhile, UNICEF executive director Catherine Russell warned that “climate crisis is a child rights crisis — and it is already taking a devastating toll on children’s lives and futures,” as fires sweep through North America, Europe and India.
What’s next for fighting climate change?
According to CNN, this report sets the stage for the COP27 climate summit, a conference where countries discuss goals and strategies to combat global warming, scheduled in November.
“At the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow last year, all countries agreed to revisit and strengthen their climate plans,” said Stiell, noting that so far, only 24 new or updated proposals have been submitted since then — a “disappointing” number.
“Government decisions and actions must reflect the level of urgency, the gravity of the threats we are facing, and the shortness of the time we have remaining to avoid the devastating consequences of runaway climate change,” he said.
However, the energy crisis and war in Ukraine, as well as the political turmoil in Britain and Brazil, have distracted leaders and countries from focusing on this pressing problem, as Max Bearak writes for The New York Times.