According to a couple of reports, nations are still off track to limit global warming to below a dangerous threshold as catastrophic extreme weather events are already threatening the health and food safety of people around the world.
The United Nations reported Wednesday that global warming will rise between 2.1 and 2.9 degrees Celsius based on the world’s current climate commitments – well beyond 1.5 degrees nations are trying to stay below. The report shows that there is still a lot of work to be done for the transition from planet-warming fossil fuels, which are pushing global temperatures higher and triggering more intense extreme weather events.
The global average temperature has already risen about 1.2 degrees since the industrial revolution.
The UN report precedes the COP27 climate summit in November, where countries will meet to raise their ambitions on the global crisis. Experts said the latest UN numbers show countries need to be more ambitious about their climate commitments.
The report “sounds the alarm that progress on climate commitments has slowed to a crawl since the Glasgow climate summit last year,” Taryn Fransen, senior researcher with the world’s climate program, told CNN. Resources Institute.
Fransen added that the UN discovery of global warming between 2.1 and 2.9 degrees Celsius is “dangerously high”.
A separate Lancet report found that the health of people around the world is “at the mercy of persistent dependence on fossil fuels.” But despite the damage to health, governments and companies “continue to prioritize fossil fuels at the expense of people’s health”.
The Lancet report says continuing to pursue fossil fuel energy “would lock the world in a fatally warmer future with catastrophic health impacts.”
According to the report, extreme heatwaves in 2020 were associated with 98 million more people suffering from moderate to severe food insecurity compared to the year 1981-2010. And from 2017 to 2021, heat-related deaths increased 68% compared to 2000-2014, according to the report.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement that livelihoods and natural economies are being pummeled, “as dependence on fossil fuels gets out of control.”
“The climate crisis is killing us,” Guterres said. “It is undermining not only the health of our planet, but the health of people everywhere.”
Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, told CNN that the UN findings on global climate goals underscore the need for urgent action to move to clean energy and away from fossil fuels.
Andersen said 1.5 degrees “is a target that is still on the map, but the more we procrastinate, that window is closing.”
Inger noted that even if countries met all of their new conditional and unconditional NDCs, combined with zero net commitments, they would bring the globe to 1.8 degrees of warming by 2100.
“The path we are on today doesn’t take us there,” Andersen said. “If we want to reach 1.5, we need to reduce our emissions by 45% by 2030. This is a large percentage. It is feasible? It’s in our hands: we developed a vaccine in less than a year. I don’t want to say it’s impossible. But it will take commitment, leadership, courage and true courage on the part of leaders to make it happen ”.