Target to reduce global warming has not been met

The world’s determination to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is only a small part of what is needed to prevent catastrophic global warming. It was warned by the United Nations ahead of the landmark COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, UK next week, where world leaders are trying to agree on further steps to tackle global warming.

At the 2015 Paris climate summit, world leaders pledged to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. But those promises are out of line with policy, according to the UN’s ‘Emissions Gap Report’ published Tuesday (26/10).

The report warned that new commitments to reduce emissions made in the run-up to the Glasgow summit, known as the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) – would reduce greenhouse gases by just 7.5 percent by 2030, compared with previous pledges. Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would require a 55 percent reduction in emissions.

Coal Power Plant in Shanxi, China (photo: doc).  The Glasgow summit is committed to reducing world emissions.

Coal Power Plant in Shanxi, China (photo: doc). The Glasgow summit is committed to reducing world emissions.

Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization, Petteri Taalas said, “So far, we have heard a lot of political support to increase the spirit of mitigation, but there is still no real promise, and now we are moving towards a warming of 2.5 to 3 degrees Celsius instead of 1.5 to 3 degrees Celsius. 2 degrees.”

So, what does that mean for the earth and mankind? Scientists say climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of heat waves.

A recent report from Chatham House noted heat-related deaths in the world, increasing by nearly 54 percent among the elderly since the turn of the century, reaching 296,000 deaths in 2018.

Chatham House Climate Scientist Daniel Quiggin said: “We estimate that around 400 million people are experiencing a heatwave so they can’t work outside.”

Heat waves and droughts will have a major impact on world food security. Crop failures and increasing numbers of pests and diseases such as the locust plague in east Africa last year led to rising food prices.

“In the next 30 years, about 50 percent more food is needed because there are more people on this earth. But estimates around meat consumption are more, especially in countries like China, Southeast Asia and so on. But at the same time based on our assessment, we expect yields to decline by around 30 percent,” added Daniel Quiggin.

Extreme weather fluctuations also mean more intense and longer droughts. Scientists say rich countries must fulfill their 2015 pledges, help poor countries pay the costs of fighting climate change and addressing its impacts. [ps/jm]

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