Energy & Environment

Pledges to cut emissions are insufficient to tackle climate change: UN

Promises to cut emissions by governments around the world are not ambitious enough to significantly counter global warming, which will likely subject future generations to worsening effects from climate change.

A new report from the United Nations has found that by the year 2100, the world will probably have warmed by between 2.1 and 2.9 degrees Celsius — or about 3.8 to 5.2 degrees Fahrenheit. 

That’s warmer than the goals agreed to under the Paris Agreement — in which countries said they would seek to limit warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius — and preferably below 1.5 degrees. 

Surpassing these levels of warming is expected to subject more people to heat waves, intense storms, sea level rise and food insecurity.

Global warming is typically compared to pre-industrial times, before humans began to burn planet-warming fossil fuels. 

The U.N.’s report shows that global pledges have been improving, but that the world is still on track to increase its emissions in the coming decade. 

It predicted that under current climate commitments, global emissions will be about 10.6 percent higher in 2030 than they were in 2010. However, this is an improvement compared to a similar assessment last year, which predicted that emissions would increase by 13.7 percent. 

Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, called on countries to update their goals in light of the finding. 

“We are still nowhere near the scale and pace of emission reductions required to put us on track toward a 1.5 degrees Celsius world. To keep this goal alive, national governments need to strengthen their climate action plans now and implement them in the next eight years,” Stiell said in a written statement. 

Tags Climate change global warming Paris Agreement United Nations
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