News ID: 259107
Published: 0915 GMT September 23, 2019

Countries must triple climate emission cut targets to limit global heating to 2°C

Countries must triple climate emission cut targets to limit global heating to 2°C

An assessment backed by the world’s major climate science bodies has found commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions must be at least tripled and increased by up to fivefold if the world is to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

The report, launched as leaders gathered at a UN climate action summit in New York on Monday, says current plans would lead to a rise in average global temperatures of between 2.9°C and 3.4°C by 2100, a shift likely to bring catastrophic change across the globe, reported.

Coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization, the United in Science report says it is still possible to reduce the gap and keep global heating to a safe level, but it would require an urgent shift in commitments and action.

The five years between 2015 and 2019 are on track to be on average 1.1°C hotter than pre-industrial times and the warmest of any equivalent period on record.

The report says many of the changes linked to the temperature rise, including long-lasting heatwaves, record-breaking wildfires, declining sea ice and glaciers, cyclones, floods and drought, have hit sooner and harder than predicted a decade ago.

Pep Canadell, the executive director of the Global Carbon Project and a contributing author on the report, said the report confirmed well-established trends, including that climate changes had accelerated in the past three decades, and particularly in the past 10 years.

“How many climate records does it take to accept the unprecedented nature of what we are living and to act upon it?”

Millions of people took part in an unprecedented global demonstration on Friday demanding urgent action to tackle global heating, joining a movement started by Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg.

The United in Science report, which is also backed by the United Nations Environment Program and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), estimates global emissions are not likely to peak before 2030 on the current trajectory.

It says policies to reduce emissions must triple to meet the 2°C target and increase fivefold to keep heating to within 1.5°C.

According to the International Energy Agency, emissions from coal power rose 2.9 percent in 2018 and account for nearly a third of global carbon dioxide pollution.

“Governments now need to introduce effective regulation to shut down coal power plants well before the end of their technical lifetime and considerably reduce their use in the meantime,” Paola Yanguas Parra, from Climate Analytics, said.

Yanguas Parra said the date at which coal would need to be phased out to give the world a chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C had been brought forward following an assessment by the IPCC last year and because governments had not tackled coal use adequately since the 2015 Paris summit.

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