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  16 Sep 2021, 13:19

1.5 C warming limit 'impossible' without major action: UN

GENEVA, Sept 16, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - A new climate change report out Thursday

shows that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will be impossible
without immediate, large-scale emissions cuts, the UN chief said.

     The United in Science 2021 report, published by a range of UN agencies
and scientific partners just weeks before the COP26 climate summit, said
climate change and its impacts were accelerating.

     And a temporary reduction in carbon emissions caused by the Covid-19
pandemic had done nothing to slow the relentless warming, it found.

     The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, struck at the COP21 summit,
called for capping global warming at well below 2 C above the pre-industrial
level, and ideally closer to 1.5 C.

     United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the report's
findings were "an alarming appraisal of just how far off course we are" in
meeting the Paris goals.

     "This year has seen fossil fuel emissions bounce back, greenhouse gas
concentrations continuing to rise and severe human-enhanced weather events
that have affected health, lives and livelihoods on every continent," he
wrote in the report's foreword.

     "Unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in
greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to 1.5 C will be impossible, with
catastrophic consequences for people and the planet."

     COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference, will be held in Glasgow from
October 31 to November 12.

     - Pandemic effects -

     Fossil greenhouse gas emissions peaked in 2019, shrinking by 5.6 percent
in 2020 due to the Covid-19 restrictions and economic slowdown.

     But outside aviation and sea transport, global emissions, averaged
across the first seven months of 2021, are now at about the same levels as in
2019.

     And the report said concentrations of the major greenhouse gases --
carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide -- continued to increase in 2020
and the first half of 2021.

     Overall emissions reductions in 2020 likely shrank the annual increase
of the atmospheric concentrations of long-lived greenhouse gases, but the
effect was "too small to be distinguished from natural variability", it said.

     The global average mean surface temperature for 2017 to 2021 -- with
this year's data based on averages up to June -- is estimated to be 1.06 C to
1.26 C above pre-industrial (1850-1900) levels, the report said.

     The global mean near-surface temperature was meanwhile expected to be at
least 1 C over pre-industrial levels in each of the coming five years, with a
40-percent chance it could climb to 1.5 C higher in one of those years, it
said.

     Guterres said the world had reached a "tipping point", and the report
showed "we really are out of time".

     - Net-zero goal -

     The all-time Canadian heat record was broken in June when a high of 49.6
C was recorded in Lytton, British Columbia.

     Though the Pacific Northwest 2021 heatwave was a rare or extremely rare
event, it would be "virtually impossible without human-caused climate
change", the report said.

     As for the severe flooding in Germany in July, the report said with high
confidence that human-induced climate change "increased the likelihood and
intensity of such an event to occur".

     The report said the increasing number of countries committing to net-
zero emission goals was encouraging, with about 63 percent of global
emissions now covered by such targets.

     But, it said, far greater action was needed by 2030 to keep those
targets feasible and credible.

     Calling for all countries to commit to net zero emissions by 2050,
Guterres said: "I expect all these issues to be addressed, and resolved, at
COP26."

     "Our future is at stake."


    

 

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