UN report: Unprecedented measures needed to avoid worst effects of climate change

UN report: Unprecedented measures needed to avoid worst effects of climate change
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Drastic action must immediately be taken to stop a bleak climate change induced future, according to a new United Nations report released Tuesday.

The UN's annual “emissions gap” report outlined the dire reality of the globe's current status in thwarting the effects of climate change, highlighting the already real and occurring effects of global warming, and urging the need for unprecedented and immediate action to counter the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.

The report, which compares the globe's emissions reality to levels needed to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate accord, found that greenhouse gas emissions would need to fall by nearly 8 percent each year, in order to keep the earth from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius.

That target is currently far from reach. The report highlighted that projections are nearly twice that level.


At the current pace, temperatures are projected to rise by almost 4 degrees Celsius around the world, a shift that would have drastic effects on some wildlife as well as sea levels, potentially putting the earth and the U.S. in particular at risk for more devastating storms.

“Every year of delay beyond 2020 brings a need for faster cuts, which become increasingly expensive, unlikely and impractical,” the report states. “Delays will also quickly put the 1.5C goal out of reach.”

“Our collective failure to act early and hard on climate change means we now must deliver deep cuts to emissions,” added Inger Andersen, the program's executive director, at a press conference on Tuesday, according to The Washington Post.

The report's publication comes a day after the World Meteorological Organization announced that sea levels were as much as 20 meters higher the last time carbon dioxide levels were this high in the earth's atmosphere.

According to authors of the UN report, in order to meet the Paris climate agreement's most ambitious goals, greenhouse gas emissions must begin to fall 7.6 percent annually across the globe beginning in 2020.

However, even if countries were able to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement, other reports suggest that it still might not be enough.

A UN report from March found that temperature rise is already ‘locked in’ in the Arctic. The report found that dramatic temperature increases in the globe’s northernmost region, which is typically covered by permafrost, is unavoidable, according to the report released at the United Nations Environment Assembly.

Even if countries were to meet the original goals of the Paris climate agreement, it would do nothing to stop Arctic winter temperatures from increasing 3 to 5 degrees Celsius by 2050 and 5 to 9 degrees Celsius by 2080, according to the report. The resulting sea level rises worldwide would be devastating.

A separate report released in September by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that even if countries significantly curbed their emissions, the planet is marching toward sea level rise of a meter, and most of the East and West coasts in the U.S. will experience flooding that would normally take place once a century every year.

Earlier this month President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney: 'Pretty sure' Trump would win 2024 GOP nomination if he ran for president Pence huddles with senior members of Republican Study Committee Trump says 'no doubt' Tiger Woods will be back after accident MORE officially pulled the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, a plan he first promised on the campaign trail. The move, which will not go into effect until next November, would make the U.S. the only country in the world to not be a part of the international agreement.

This story was updated.