Report: The Earth is racing to exceed the warming limit

Report: The Earth is racing to exceed the warming limit

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The Earth is accelerating at a rate of 2.5 to 2.9 degrees Celsius (4.5 to 5.2 degrees Fahrenheit) of global warming since pre-industrial times, and is expected to exceed an agreed international climate threshold, according to a United Nations report.

To get equal money to keep temperature rises at the 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) limit set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement, countries would have to cut their emissions by 42% by the end of the decade, the UN Environment Program said. The emissions gap report was released on Monday. The report said that carbon emissions resulting from burning coal, oil and gas rose by 1.2% last year.

This year, the Earth got a taste of what is to come, said the report, which sets the table for international climate talks later this month.

As of the end of September, the average daily global temperature was more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above mid-19th century levels on 86 days this year, the report said. But that rose to 127 days because most of the first two weeks of November and all of October reached or exceeded 1.5 degrees, according to the European climate service Copernicus. This represents 40% of days so far this year.

(More: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says Earth easily experiences its warmest October on its way to hottest year on record.)

On Friday, global temperatures reached 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees) above pre-industrial levels for the first time in recorded history, according to Copernicus deputy director Samantha Burgess.

“It’s actually a signal that we are already seeing change and acceleration,” said Anne Olhoff, lead author of the report from the Danish climate think-tank Conceto. He added: “Based on what science tells us, this is very much like a whisper. What happens in the future will be more like a roar.”

Inger Andersen, director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said it was really dangerous.

“Temperatures are reaching new levels, while extreme weather events are occurring increasingly, developing faster and becoming more intense,” Andersen said. The new report tells us that it will take a massive and urgent transformation to avoid these record numbers falling year after year.

Scientists said the 1.5 degree target is based on a time period measured over many years, not days. Previous reports suggest that the Earth will reach this long-term limit in early 2029 without dramatic changes in emissions.

To prevent this from happening, Olhoff said, countries around the world must come up with more stringent targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and implement policies to work towards achieving those targets.

She said that in the past two years, only nine countries had come up with new targets, so it didn’t move the needle, but some countries, including the United States and European countries, put in place policies that improved the outlook slightly. .

(More: The U.S. Climate Assessment shows that worsening global warming is hurting people in all regions)

This may seem like a lot, but in 2022 the world released 57.4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases. Current pledges by countries would reduce that to 55 billion metric tons, and limiting temperature rise to a level of 1.5 degrees Celsius in 2030 would have to fall to 33 billion metric tons. This “emissions gap” amounts to 22 billion metric tons.

The AES Indiana Petersburg Power Plant, a coal-fired power plant, operates in Petersburg, Indiana, on Wednesday, October 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickel)

The Indiana Petersburg AES Power Plant, a coal-fired power plant, operates in Petersburg, Indiana, on Wednesday, October 25, 2023.

(AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickle)

“The emissions gap is like an emissions valley – a valley full of broken promises, broken lives and broken records,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

That’s why the report said the chance of keeping warming at or below 1.5 degrees is about one in seven, or about 14%, which is “very slim indeed,” Olhoff said.

The report said that if the world wants to settle on a temperature rise limit of 2 degrees Celsius – a secondary threshold in the Paris Agreement – it only needs to reduce emissions to 41 billion metric tons, with a gap of 16 billion metric tons from now. .

Because the world has already warmed nearly 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) since the mid-19th century, the report forecasts another 1.3 to 1.7 degrees Celsius (2.3 to 3.1 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of this century.

Countries realized two years ago that they had to come up with more ambitious emissions reduction targets if the world wanted to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, but “none of the top officials changed their minds,” said study co-author Niklas Hoehne, one of the study’s co-authors. emissions pledges.” Scientist at the New Climate Institute in Germany.

(More: A new study shows that 90% of the Earth’s population felt the heat of climate change in the past year)

That’s why the gloomy outlook from annual emissions gap reports has changed over the past few years, Olhoff said.

This year’s emissions gap report is accurate but not surprising, and the projected temperature range fits with other groups’ calculations, said climate analytics scientist Bill Hare, who was not involved in the report.

Guterres reiterated his call for countries to phase out the use of fossil fuels in time to maintain the 1.5 degree Celsius limit, saying, “Otherwise, we are simply inflating lifeboats while breaking the oars.”

“We now know that the impacts of climate change and global warming of 2.5 to 3 degrees Celsius will be enormous,” Olhoff said in an interview. “It’s basically not the future that I think anyone wants for their children and grandchildren and so on. The good news, of course, is that we can act and we know what we have to do.”

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment, and the importance of science in our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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