The world is heading towards a temperature rise of 2.5 to 2.9 degrees, which requires “relentless” intervention.

The world is heading towards a temperature rise of 2.5 to 2.9 degrees, which requires “relentless” intervention.

An aerial photo of Women near Diksmuide in West Flanders, after days of continuous rain.Photo by Agence France-Presse

This is the bitter message from him Annual greenhouse gas report From the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Environment Organization, which was published on Monday. All current climate policies are not sufficient to stay below the internationally agreed upon two degrees. The temperature on Earth will be 2.5 to 2.9 degrees warmer by the end of this century, according to estimates by United Nations experts.

About the author
Martin Colemans is science editor at De VolkskrantSpecializing in microbiology, climate, archaeology and genetic engineering. He was named Journalist of the Year for his reporting on Corona.

This warming makes major disasters possible, such as the melting of parts of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, causing sea levels to rise by several metres. The Arctic will also be regularly ice-free in the summer, the Alps will likely lose their glaciers, and Africa’s monsoons may stop.

Under current policies, CO2It is estimated that emissions in 2030 will be 2 to 9 percent lower than in 2022. To stay below 2 degrees of warming, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 28 percent. To stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the world would have to emit 42 percent fewer greenhouse gases annually in 2030 than in 2022.

“This is roughly equivalent to the emissions of the United States, China and the European Union combined,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres explained when presenting the new figures. Guterres was very angry about the gap between climate goals and practices. “The pit is more like a yawning chasm, full of broken promises. This is a failure of leadership. A betrayal of the weak.”

Solar energy

UNEP does not believe that Europe and countries such as the United States, Australia, Brazil and Great Britain will succeed in reaching zero emissions by 2050, as government leaders have officially promised. “Net zero pledges are not considered credible at this time,” the report said. “None of the G20 countries have reduced their emissions at a pace consistent with their net-zero targets.”

Although the world is currently investing extensively, especially in wind and solar energy, greenhouse gas emissions increased by 1.2 percent last year, reaching a new record high of 57.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide.2– “Equivalents”, a measure by which all greenhouse gases are converted into carbon dioxide2. Nearly a quarter of that amount comes from China, with its huge population and new industries.

The calculations are a few tenths of a degree less favorable than last year, because slightly more modern mathematical models were used. Last year, the United Nations Environment Program said that global temperature rise would reach 2.4 to 2.6 degrees under current policies. Now it is 2.5 to 2.9 degrees.

Magic border

The UNEP report will be published shortly before the COP28 climate summit, which begins on November 30 in Dubai. This summit is already in bad shape: there is a possibility that global temperatures this year will temporarily be 1.5 degrees higher than before industrialization, or even higher. For example, September on Earth was 1.8°C warmer on average than it was in the period before industrialization: the hottest month on record.

These numbers are important because the international community will formally assess climate policy for the first time in Dubai, a ritual of reckoning called the “global assessment.” Then, if all goes well, countries will tighten their climate plans. However, the question remains whether this will be possible at the pace needed to achieve the Paris climate goals. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, this requires “relentless mitigation and low-carbon transition.”

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