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It has generally been agreed by environmental scientists around the world that in order to avoid catastrophic, irreversible climate change, global average temperatures cannot increase by more than 2°C by 2100.
In 2010, the United Nations met in Kyoto, where 190 nations signed a protocol to agree to limit greenhouse gas emissions and work to keep temperature rises to a minimum. However, a group of UN scientists have discovered that more than half of the greenhouse gases needed to see temperatures surpass the 2°C limit, have already been released and there are still 87 years left until the deadline. Last year the World Bank suggested that it is more likely that the planet will warm by an average of 4°C.
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are set to meet in Warsaw on the 11th of November to try and develop a new, stricter treaty that would be finalised by 2015 and begin taking effect in 2020. The three diplomats who have been involved in the UN global warming talks from the beginning, have now said that there is little chance that even this next treaty will be able to prevent the world from heating up too much.
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Yvo de Boer, the UNFCCC executive secretary back in 2009, said that “there is nothing that can be agreed in 2015 that would be consistent with the 2 degrees. The only way that a 2015 agreement can achieve a 2-degree goal is to shut down the whole global economy.”
Even the current UNFCCC executive secretary, Christina Figueres, has no faith, admitting; “I don’t think even a 2015 agreement is going to all of a sudden overnight result in a 2-degree pathway. There is no agreement that is a miracle.”
The best she hopes for is to sort out a new treaty for 2015 that will “very visibly and palpably affect the trajectory of emissions,” attempting to restrict them to peak during this decade, and then begin to fall to zero net emissions by 2050.
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Last year the UN Environment Program said that the current policies in affect will allow carbon emissions to grow to 58 gigatons a year in 2020, up from 50 gigatons in 2010; highlighting their ineffectiveness and therefore the importance of new policies.
De Boer explained to Bloomberg that “the economic realities, the energy security realities, the poverty eradication realities, the access to energy realities are such that the main thing is to get as many countries as possible to make as bold a next step as they can without feeling threatened. By definition a 2015 outcome, even a brilliant one, must be inadequate, and it will lead to severe impacts.”
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…