Climate pledges fall dangerously short of 1.5°C target

in combat Against climate change, one number stands out above all others: 1.5 degrees Celsius. It may be hard to wrap your head around the effects of global warming, but the difference between 1.5°C and 2°C is significant. To give one example: at 1.5°C, we are talking about a loss of 70 percent of corals; At two degrees Celsius, the corals will disappear. At 1.5°C, 1 in 100 Arctic summers will be ice-free; At 2 degrees Celsius it is 1 in 10.

With the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow now approaching the finish line, one of the biggest questions that needs to be answered is whether it has kept the 1.5°C target alive. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urge countries to “Draw all the breakpoints in the next few days to keep 1.5 alive.” and statment From the High Ambition Coalition calling on countries to make more ambitious climate pledges in line with 1.5°C before COP27 It now has 41 supporting countries, including the United States.

For countries like the Marshall Islands, which facing erasure of climate change if emissions are not controlled, the idea of ​​not ramping up short-term climate pledges is unsuccessful. “We have to go back to make sure the NDCs are in line with 1.5°C,” Tina Steg, climate envoy for the Marshall Islands at COP26, said on November 10. to the negotiating table until these goals are delivered.”

With all the mixed messages coming from COP26, it can be hard to understand how close we are to achieving the 1.5°C target. Analysis released last week by the International Energy Agency (IEA) He estimated that the climate pledges made so far at COP26 could help limit global warming to 1.8°C by the end of the century. but separate Analytics The Climate Action Tracker (CAT) found that current pledges add up to 2.4°C of warming by the end of the century, with policies and actual actions on the ground putting the world on track for a massive 2.7°C rise, a path UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described By “disaster”. The real differences would be between 1.8°C and 2.7°C deep.

what’s going? The issue is that these are all Expectations, which by their very nature must make certain assumptions about what will happen. The IEA assessment assumes that all net-zero long-term pledges will be fulfilled and includes the high-level pledges made last week, such as One to cut methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

But not all of these pledges are currently included in countries’ more formal, shorter-term climate pledges to the United Nations, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

When CAT made the same assumptions as the IEA, it actually came up with the same numbers, says Niclas Hohn, partner at the NewClimate Institute and co-author of the CAT analysis. “We also have a very optimistic scenario of it going down to 1.8°C by the end of the century, but basically we caution that this is not likely to happen,” he says. Countries do not have enough short-term policies to move themselves on a path toward their own zero-sum goals. The short term is the problem.”

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