Leading scientists have said that the world is likely to escape the worst ravages of climate breakdown, entering an “unknown zone of destruction” through our failure to cut greenhouse gas emissions and take the necessary action to avert the catastrophe. rapidly decreasing.
Despite intense warnings in recent years, governments and businesses are not changing fast enough, according to a United in Science report published Tuesday. The consequences are already being seen around the world in increasingly extreme weather, and we are in danger of provoking “tipping points” in the climate system, which will mean more rapid and in some cases irreversible changes.
The recent floods in Pakistan, which the country’s climate minister claimed have covered a third of the country with water, is the latest example of extreme weather that is wreaking havoc across the world. Heat across Europe, including Britain, a prolonged drought in China, a major drought in the Americas and famine conditions in parts of Africa also reflect increasingly prevalent extremes of weather this summer.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “There is nothing natural about the new scale of these disasters. They are the cost of humanity’s addiction to fossil fuels. This year’s United in Science report points out that climate impacts are the unknowns of destruction.” Heading to the area.”
The report found that within the next five years the world is not likely to see temperatures higher than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Governments agreed last November at the United Nations Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow to focus on keeping temperatures within 1.5C limits, but their pledges and actions to cut emissions fell short of what was needed, the report reported. found.
Since Cop26, the invasion of Ukraine and rising gas prices have prompted some governments to return to fossil fuels, including coal. Guterres warned of the danger: “Each year we double this fossil fuel addiction, even as symptoms rapidly worsen.”
The report finds that the world has also failed to adapt to the consequences of the climate crisis. Guterres denounced rich countries that promised aid to the developing world but failed to deliver. “It is a scam that developed countries have failed to take adaptation seriously, and have gone back on their commitments to help the developing world,” he said.
He said rich countries should provide $40 billion (£34.5 billion) every year to help countries adapt and increase this to $300 billion by 2030.
The question of adapting to the effects of extreme weather, and the “loss and damage” that vulnerable countries are experiencing, is likely to be one of the key issues at the upcoming Cop27 UN climate talks in Egypt in November. Prominent figures are concerned about the prospects of that summit, as geopolitical turmoil jeopardizes the fragile consensus reached in Glasgow.
Tasneem Essop, executive director of the Climate Action Network, said governments should prepare for Cop 27 with action plans that reflect the urgency of the crisis. “The dire picture painted by the United in Science report is already a living reality for millions of people facing recurrent climate disasters. The science is clear, yet those communities as a result of fossil fuel addiction by greedy corporations and wealthy countries There is harm and harm being done to those who have done the least amount of work to cause the current climate crisis.”
She continued: “For those already facing a climate emergency, especially in the global south, the COP27 conference in Egypt agrees to new funding to help rebuild their lives should.”
The United in Science report was coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization, and includes the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the World Climate Research Programme, the Global Carbon Project, the UK Met Office and the Urban Climate Change Research Network. Are included. ,
Separately, researchers from the University of Oxford said that shifting the global economy to lower carbon levels would save the world at least $12tn (£10.4bn) by 2050, compared with current levels of fossil fuel use. Is. Rising gas prices have shown the vulnerability of economies dependent on fossil fuels.
The study, published Tuesday in the journal Joule, found that increasingly moving to renewable energy and other forms of clean energy will benefit the economy, as the cost of green technology is reduced.
Co-author of the paper, Rupert Way, a postdoctoral researcher at Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, said: “Previous models predicting high costs for the transition to zero-carbon energy have kept companies from investing and Governments have been nervous about setting policies that will accelerate the energy transition and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. But the cost of clean energy has declined sharply over the past decade, much faster than those models expected. Is.”
The United in Science report found:
The past seven years were the warmest on record and the next five have a 48% chance during at least one year that the annual mean temperature will be temporarily 1.5C higher than the 1850-1900 average.
Global mean temperatures are projected to be between 1.1C and 1.7C higher than pre-industrial levels from 2022-2026, and there is a 93% chance that at least one year in the next five will be warmer than the hottest year on record Will, 2016.
The decline in carbon dioxide emissions during the lockdowns linked to the COVID-19 pandemic was temporary, and carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels returned to pre-pandemic levels last year.
National pledges on greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient to keep global warming at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
Climate-related disasters are causing economic losses of $200 million per day.
About half the planet – 3.3 to 3.6 billion people – are living in regions highly vulnerable to the effects of the climate crisis, but less than half have early warning systems for extreme weather.
As global warming increases, “tipping points” in the climate system cannot be ruled out. These include the drying up of the Amazon rainforest, the melting of ice caps, and the weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Reversal circulation, known as the Gulf Stream.
By 2050, more than 1.6 billion people living in 97 cities will regularly reach at least 35C of the three-month average temperature.