Humanity is nearing its last chance to prevent the worst future damage from climate change, a panel of top UN scientists said Monday.
But that will require a nearly two-thirds reduction in carbon pollution and fossil fuel use by 2035, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The UN Secretary-General has more outspokenly called for the exploration of new fossil fuels to stop by 2040, and for rich countries to give up coal, oil and gas.
“Humanity is on thin ice, and that ice is melting rapidly,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. to”
Mr. Guterres called for even more action on fossil fuels, calling for “no new coal,” but also for rich countries to be coal-free by 2030 and poor countries by 2040. I asked. He has urged developed countries to have carbon-free electricity generation by 2035. , that is, no gas-fired power plants.
The date is important because, according to the Paris Agreement, countries must immediately set targets to reduce pollution by 2035. After a controversy, a UN science panel says the world will need to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2035 compared to 2019 to stay below the global warming limit set in Paris. calculated and reported. Reports published since 2018.
“Choices and actions made in this decade will have implications for thousands of years,” said the report, calling climate change “a threat to human well-being and the health of the planet.” increase.
“We are not on the right track, but it is not too late,” said water scientist Aditi Mukherji, co-author of the report. “Our intention is really a message of hope, not a message of doomsday.”
Scientists underscored the sense of urgency as we are only one-tenth of a degree away from the globally accepted goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels. . This target was adopted as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement and the world has already warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius or 2 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is likely the last warning a collection of Nobel Peace Prize-winning scientists can give about the 1.5 mark, and the next series of reports will indicate whether the Earth has breached the mark or will soon. Because it is likely to be done after sticking to exceeding. including the authors of the report, told The Associated Press.
The report’s co-author Francis X. Johnson, a climate, land and policy scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute, said “risks start to pile up” after 1.5 degrees. The report mentions temperature “tipping points” for species extinction, such as coral reefs, irreversible melting of ice sheets and several meters of sea level rise.
“The window is closing if we don’t cut our emissions as soon as possible,” Johnson said in an interview. “Scientists are pretty alarmed.”
“1.5 is a very important limit, especially for small islands and mountains (communities) that depend on glaciers,” said Mukherji, who is also director of the Climate Change Impacts Platform at the research institute CGIAR.
2022 has been full of pessimistic headlines about climate change. It was a year filled with disasters, record emissions and record CO2 levels. But last year’s significant progress has created positive momentum for tackling climate change in 2023.
Many scientists, including at least three co-authors, say reaching 1.5 degrees is inevitable.
Malte Meinshausen, a co-author of the report and a climate scientist at the University of Melbourne, Australia, said: “There’s little you can do to avoid exceeding 1.5°C at some point in the 2030s.” But the big question is whether temperatures will continue to rise from there or stabilize.
“The 1.5 degree limit is achievable,” Guterres argued. Hoesung Lee, chief of the science panel, said the world is far off track so far.
“The report confirms that if current trends, current patterns of consumption and production continue, … a global average temperature increase of 1.5 degrees could be seen in any one of the decades,” Lee said. Stated.
Scientists stress that the world, civilization, or humankind will not come to an end if the Earth rises above 1.5 degrees. “We are not all going to fall off a cliff,” Mukerji said. But his previous IPCC report detailed how damage from extinction of coral reefs to Arctic sea ice-free summers to nasty extreme weather events worsens beyond 1.5 degrees of warming. doing.
“It is certainly wise to plan for a future with temperatures above 1.5 degrees,” said Stephen Rose, editor of the IPCC Report Review and an economist at the National Electric Power Research Institute. .
According to the report, if the world continues to use all of its fossil fuel-powered infrastructure, the planet will warm by at least 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, surpassing 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Because the report is based on data from several years ago, the calculations for fossil fuel projects already in the pipeline do not include increased use of coal and natural gas after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the report said. Dipak Dasgupta, co-author of the report and climate change expert, said: Economist at the Institute of Energy and Resources, India. The report comes a week after the U.S. Biden administration approved the massive Willow oil drilling project in Alaska, which could produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil a day.
The report, and the discussion that underlies it, finds rich countries that have caused much of the problem because carbon dioxide emissions from industrialization have been stuck in the atmosphere for more than a century, and poorer countries that are hit harder by extreme weather. It also touches on the disparity between
For the world to meet its climate change goals, poorer countries will need to “multiple” increase their financial support to adapt to a warmer world and switch to clean energy. Countries have made financial pledges and commitments to the reparations fund.
Madeline Diouf Sahl, chair of the Coalition for the Poorest Nations, said that unless developed countries cut their emissions faster and better help affected countries adapt to future harm, “the world will be a latecomer.” It’s pushing developing countries into poverty,” he said.
Millions of millennials and Gen Z feel anxiety, fear and sadness about the accelerating impacts of climate change. However, there are tools that can help you deal with these difficult feelings.
The report uses the word “opportunity” nine times in its 27-page summary to give hope if action is taken. Although the opportunity is overshadowed by the 94th use of the word “risk”.
The IPCC Executive Director said the report contains “a message of hope, along with a range of scientific findings about the enormous damage and loss that climate change has caused to us and the planet.”
“There are pathways that can solve these problems. This report provides a comprehensive overview of the actions we can take to lead us to a better and livable future,” Lee said. told the Associated Press.
Lee took pains to emphasize that it is not the commission’s job to tell countries what they should and should not do to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“It’s up to each government to find the best solutions,” he said, adding that scientists hope those solutions will stabilize global temperatures at about 1.5 degrees.
Asked if this will be the final report outlining how to reach 1.5 C, Lee said it’s impossible to predict what progress will be made to sustain that goal. said.
“It’s still possible,” he said. “I would like to emphasize that it depends on the political will to achieve that goal.”
Activists also saw a silver lining in the report.
“The findings of these reports are disheartening at the slow pace of emissions reductions, the limited transition to renewable energy and the growing impact of the climate crisis on children by the day. UNICEF: “But those children need us to read this report and take action without losing hope.”
Climate change is becoming a major issue on the ballot as the November election approaches. From heatwaves in California to water crises in Jackson and Mississippi, the United States has experienced many climate-related disasters. “The End is Nye” host and executive his producer Bill Nye joins his LX News to answer some common questions people have asked online about climate change.
Borenstein reported from Kensington, Maryland.