In its latest climate report, the United Nations warns that “humanity is on thin ice” and “ice is melting fast” as greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase.
From 2010 to 2019, we saw a 12% increase in greenhouse gas emission, according to the UN climate report. From 1990 to 2019, we saw a 54% increase, with fossil fuel production, industrial activities and methane emissions the main contributors.
The report, released on Monday, warns that climate change is already having a clear negative impact across the world, and the window of opportunity to reverse this is closing “rapidly”.The report stresses the urgency of reaching net zero by the early 2050s in order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Achieving this means cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. “We are pretty much locked into 1.5,” Malte Meinhausen, a co-author of the report and a climate scientist from the University of Melbourne in Australia, said, as cited by the Associated Press. “There’s very little way we will be able to avoid crossing 1.5 C sometime in the 2030s,” he noted, but the big unknown is whether temperatures would continue to rise from there on, or stabilize.
To date, man-made climate change has contributed to a 1.1-degree Celsius warming of the plant above pre-industrial levels, the report said.
Even with the world working toward this goal, the UN report said, some climate change impacts, including rising sea levels, are unavoidable at this point, though can be limited to some extent through urgent action.
While the report’s authors note that “there is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all,” there is still some hope through the development of new technology.
“This is the stone cold truth laid out in unassailable science by the world’s top climate experts. We’re hurtling down the road to ruin and running out of time to change course,” Manish Bapna, president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement.
By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com
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