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Just a month and a half after the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported a “code red” for the world to combat climate, the UN announced on Friday that recent climate action plans submitted by 191 countries won’t come close to limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Without improved commitments, the world is on track to warm 2.7 degrees by 2100, but humanity won’t have to wait 80 years to see its effects.
Why This Matters: While 86 nations submitted new plans this year, some of the world’s largest emitters, including India and China, haven’t updated their plans. So far, the plans submitted could curb emissions by 12%, but without more ambitious commitments from major polluters, GHG emissions could rise by 16%, resulting in a net increase in emissions. “The 16% increase is a huge cause of concern,” said Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “It is in sharp contrast with the calls by science for rapid, sustained and large-scale emission reductions to prevent the most severe climate consequences and suffering, especially of the most vulnerable, throughout the world.”
On Friday, President Biden hosted the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, hoping to nudge other nations to raise climate ambition. “I need to tell you the consequences of inaction,” he told leaders. “We don’t have a lot of time.” The US and the EU also announced on Friday a global agreement to cut methane emissions 30% by 2030, which experts say offers a quick route to reducing warming.
Still, if countries, especially major emitters like the US and China, don’t increase their climate commitments, the consequences will be dire. “There is a high risk of failure of COP26,” warned UN Secretary General António Guterres. “It is clear that everyone must assume their responsibilities.”
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have hit a three-million-year high, according to a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report published yesterday. Despite a brief dip in emissions in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall trend of increasing emissions continues, indicating last year’s dip had little to no impact on […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer A report in the Dasgupta Review shows that by using a fiscal lens to view Earth’s growing biodiversity loss, we can see how it links to economic development. By viewing nature as an asset like “produced capital (roads, buildings and factories)” or “human capital (health, knowledge and skills)” — […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer While coal use is a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions, another industry is set to outpace it: plastic. A new report from Bennington College and Beyond Plastics estimates the plastic industry emits over 232 million tons of greenhouse gases each year, the equivalent of 116 coal-fired power plants. […]
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