Even if all countries keep their climate promises, global warming could reach 2.9 degrees, according to a new UN report.
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Such a strong warming is described as catastrophic. Large parts of the world may become practically uninhabitable, the melting of the ice in the polar regions will accelerate, and parts of the Amazon rainforest may disappear.
In the new report, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) has examined the effects of the emission reduction targets that the world’s countries have submitted to the UN. The voluntary emission targets are an important part of the international climate agreement that was adopted in Paris in 2015.
If all the countries reach the specific targets they have set without conditions, the world is on the way to 2.9 degrees of warming.
– Can’t delay any longer
If less binding targets and airy ambitions for “net zero emissions” are also reached, global warming can be stopped at 2.5 or 2 degrees.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres is asking world leaders to tighten emission targets and take dramatic measures to stop warming more quickly.
– The leaders cannot continue to postpone this any longer, he says.
The new report is published a few weeks before the UN convenes for a new climate summit, this time in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Although climate negotiations have been going on for almost 30 years, global climate emissions still continue to increase. Calculations made by the UN, however, indicate that emissions will begin to fall during this decade.
Hot and dry
An important international goal is to keep global warming below 2 degrees, and preferably below 1.5 degrees.
The past six months have been characterized by extreme heat waves, droughts and flood disasters in a number of countries around the world. An important cause of the extreme weather is global warming, which as of today is around 1.2 degrees.
Several global temperature records have been broken by very large margins in recent months. The average temperature in September was described as “insane” by the head of the EU’s climate monitoring service C3S.
Above 2 degrees
Now in November, for the first time, a day has been recorded where the average temperature in the world was more than 2 degrees higher than in pre-industrial times.
This does not mean, however, that the world has already failed to reach the 2-degree target. Then the global average temperature must remain above 2 degrees for a longer period of several years.
In addition to global warming, it is believed that the weather phenomenon El Niño has contributed to the temperature jumps in the past six months. Scientists are investigating whether an undersea volcanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean, reduced particle pollution or other factors have also played a role – but this is still uncertain.
The temperatures in recent months mean that scientists are almost certain that 2023 will be the hottest year ever recorded on the planet.
Published: November 20, 2023 4:45 p.m
Updated: November 20, 2023 5:37 p.m