According to a recent United Nations report, the Earth is on track to experience a global warming of 2.5 to 2.9 degrees Celsius (4.5 to 5.2 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times, surpassing the previously agreed-upon international climate limit.
The 2015 Paris climate agreement states that in order to have a fair chance at limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), countries must reduce their emissions by 42% by the end of the decade. According to the U.N. Environment Programme’s Emissions Gap report released on Monday, carbon emissions from the consumption of coal, oil, and gas increased by 1.2% in the previous year.
The report stated that this year, Earth experienced a preview of what is to be expected. It sets the stage for the upcoming international climate discussions in the following month.
According to a report, the daily average global temperature has surpassed 1.5 degrees Celsius above levels from the mid-19th century on 86 days this year until the end of September. However, this number has increased to 127 days due to the fact that almost all of October and the first two weeks of November have experienced temperatures at or above 1.5 degrees. This accounts for 40% of the days in the year so far, according to Copernicus, the European climate service.
According to Samantha Burgess, the Deputy Director of Copernicus, on Friday, the Earth reached a temperature that was 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than pre-industrial levels – a first in recorded history.
According to Anne Olhoff, the lead author of the report from Denmark’s climate think tank Concito, this is a clear sign that we are witnessing a shift and an increase in pace. She compares the current situation, based on scientific findings, to a whisper, while predicting that the future will bring a much louder impact.
According to UNEP Director Inger Andersen, the situation is already hazardous.
According to Andersen, temperatures are soaring and extreme weather events are happening more frequently, with quicker development and greater intensity. The latest report emphasizes the need for an urgent and significant change in order to prevent these records from continually breaking each year.
According to scientists, the 1.5-degree target is calculated over a long period of time, rather than just a few days. Previous studies projected that Earth would reach this limit in early 2029 if significant changes were not made to emissions.
In order to prevent this from occurring, nations must establish stricter targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and put into effect policies that align with those targets, according to Olhoff.
Over the last two years, only nine nations have established new objectives. This has not significantly impacted progress, but certain countries, such as the United States and those in Europe, have implemented policies that have slightly enhanced the prospects.
According to Olhoff, the Inflation Reduction Act of the United States allocates $375 billion towards clean energy and aims to decrease annual carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 1 billion metric tons by 2030.
That sounds like a lot, but the world in 2022 spewed 57.4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases. Current country pledges would trim that to 55 billion metric tons, and to limit warming to the 1.5 degree mark emissions in 2030 have to be down to 33 billion metric tons. That’s an “emissions gap” of 22 billion metric tons.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, stated that the difference in emissions is not just a gap, but more of a canyon filled with unfulfilled commitments, devastated livelihoods, and shattered records.
The report states that the likelihood of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees is approximately one-in-seven or 14%, which was described as “extremely slim” by Olhoff.
According to the report, in order to reach the goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (as outlined in the Paris agreement), the world needs to reduce emissions by 41 billion metric tons. This would require a gap of 16 billion metric tons from current levels.
As global temperatures have risen by approximately 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) since the mid-19th century, the forecast in the report suggests a further increase of 1.3 to 1.7 degrees Celsius (2.3 to 3.1 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the current century.
Over the past two years, nations have been aware that they need to set higher goals for reducing emissions in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. However, according to Niklas Hohne from the New Climate Institute in Germany, none of the major contributors to emissions have made any changes to their commitments.
Over the last few years, Olhoff stated that the negative predictions in the annual Emissions Gap reports have remained relatively consistent.
According to Climate Analytics scientist Bill Hare, who did not contribute to the report, this year’s emissions gap report is precise but expected, and the estimated temperature range aligns with calculations from other organizations.
Guterres restated his plea for nations to end the reliance on fossil fuels in a timely manner in order to maintain the 1.5 degree limit, stating “otherwise, we are only inflating the lifeboats while simultaneously breaking the oars.”
In an interview, Olhoff stated that the consequences of climate change and global warming, estimated to be between 2.5 and 3 degrees Celsius, will have a significant impact. This is not a desirable future for our future generations. However, there is hope as we have the ability to take action and are aware of the necessary steps.
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