World not doing enough to cut emissions - GulfToday

World not doing enough to cut emissions

Climate Change

The world is heading for a 3.2 degrees Celsius global temperature rise over pre-industrial levels due to climate change.

Even if countries meet commitments made under the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world is heading for a 3.2 degrees Celsius global temperature rise over pre-industrial levels, leading to even wider-ranging and more destructive climate impacts, warns a report from the UN Environment Programme.

The cost of ignoring such a serious warning could be heavy for every country and individual on the planet, as climate repercussions do not spare anyone on a discriminatory basis.

The annual Emissions Gap Report, which compares where greenhouse gas emissions are heading, versus where they need to be, shows that emissions need to fall by 7.6 per cent each year over the next decade, if the world is to get back on track towards the goal of limiting temperature rises to close to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

If the world warms by more than 1.5 degrees, we will see more frequent, and intense, climate impacts – as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has demonstrated in several hard-hitting reports – such as the heatwaves and storms witnessed in recent years.

Inger Andersen, UNEP’s Executive Director, is correct in stating that our collective failure to act early and hard on climate change means we now must deliver deep cuts to emissions.

In December 2020, countries are expected to significantly step up their climate commitments at the UN Climate Conference - COP26 — due to be held in Glasgow.

However, the urgency of the situation means any delay in initiating corrective measures could have dangerous consequences.

The safest temperature threshold set in Paris — of 1.5°C — is still achievable, but would require emissions cuts of 7.6% a year between 2020-2030.

The Emissions Gap report, now in its tenth year, also details the cost of a decade of government inaction.

Had serious climate action begun in 2010, just after the Copenhagen summit that breathed new life into the debate, annual needed emission cuts would be 0.7 per cent for 2°C of warming and 3.3 per cent for 1.5C.

G20 nations were justly singled out as laggards: although they produce around 78 per cent of all emissions, only 15 rich nations have outlined plans to reach net-zero.

Last year the Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change issued a stark warning that going beyond 1.5°C would increase the frequency and intensity of heat waves, superstorms and mass flooding.

It should not be forgotten that with just 1°C of warming so far, 2019 is projected to be the second hottest in human history, a year marred by deadly wildfires and cyclones rendered more frequent as temperatures climb.

On another front, the plan by a majority of European Union lawmakers to declare a “climate emergency” on Monday, a week before a United Nations climate conference in Madrid, is a positive development.

Members of the European Parliament expect the declaration to increase pressure on the incoming EU executive, expected to start work on Dec.1, to take a stronger leading role in the global fight against climate change.

The new president of the executive Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has stated that combating climate change would be among her top priorities and has set out a “European Green Deal” intended to achieve “climate neutrality” — or adding no greenhouse gases to the atmosphere beyond what can be absorbed — by 2050.

Nevertheless, there are no clear indications that a rapid, coordinated action worldwide to undertake emission cuts is underway. And, that’s indeed a distressing signal.