UN warns of the consequences of not cutting fuel emissions now

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The United Nations warned in its annual greenhouse gas assessment published on Tuesday that the world would miss an opportunity to avert a climate catastrophe if it did not immediately and nearly impossible cuts in fossil fuel emissions.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) said global emissions should fall by 7.6 percent a year until 2030 to contain rising temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

But the harsh reality is that emissions rose 1.5 percent annually over the past decade to a record 55.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases in 2018, three years after 195 countries signed the Paris climate agreement.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said Monday that atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations hit a record high in 2018.

The Paris Climate Agreement calls for climate warming to be contained below 2 ° C and, if possible, up to 1.5 ° C.

To that end, they agreed on the need to reduce emissions and work for a low-carbon world within decades.

But the United Nations has found that even if we take into account Paris’ current commitments, the world is moving toward 3.2 degrees Celsius, which scientists fear will tear apart the fabric of societies.

The United Nations itself concluded that its assessment was “bleak”.

While insisting that the goal of 1.5 ° C remains achievable, the United Nations has acknowledged that this will require an unprecedented and coordinated revolution for the global economy, which is still largely fueled by oil and gas growth.

“We are failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen told AFP.

“Unless we take urgent action now and achieve a very significant reduction in global emissions, we will miss the (containment) target of 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

– The price of inaction –

The emissions gap report, released for the tenth year, also presented the cost of a decade of government inaction.

He said that had governments taken serious climate action in 2010, after the Copenhagen summit, which breathed new life into the climate debate, the annual emissions reductions required would be 0.7 percent for a two-degree rise and 3.3 percent for a rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius. .

“Ten years of climate procrastination have led us to where we are today,” Anderson said.

Despite varying advice for countries, the issue is clear: the complete phase-out of coal, the large-scale elimination of oil and gas and the construction of renewable energy in a large form.

The report considered the G20 group of laggards, although it produces about 78 percent of total emissions, but only 15 rich countries have developed zero-emission plans.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration formally informed the United Nations that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and took steps to boost fossil fuel production, including supporting technology to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

Overall, countries must increase their contributions to climate control five times to achieve the necessary reduction to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

– “Time is already running out” –

Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading scientific body on the issue, issued a stark warning that warming beyond 1.5 ° C would increase the intensity and sequence of heat waves, large storms and floods.

With global warming rising only Celsius so far, 2019 is expected to be the second warmest year in human history, and has already seen deadly forest fires and hurricanes becoming more frequent as temperatures rise.

Despite the need for urgent action, as global energy demand continues to rise for years, the United Nations itself acknowledged on Tuesday that “there is no indication that greenhouse gas emissions will fall in the next few years.”

Alden Meyer, director of policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the turning point should have come years ago.

“Time is not running out,” he told AFP.

The report said emissions would need to fall 55 percent by 2030 to keep warming on track at 1.5 degrees Celsius, which would be an unprecedented drop in global growth.

John Ferguson, director of analysis for The Economist, said he was pessimistic about the ability of countries to reduce their emissions in a timely manner.

“There is a gap in emissions, but there is also a gap between words and actions, and this gap shows my pessimism that we will not be able to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” he said.

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