World on ‘thin ice’ as UN climate report gives stark warning


BERLIN — Humanity still has a chance, close to last, to prevent the worst Climate change future losses, a high-level panel of UN scientists said on Monday.

But doing so requires an immediate reduction of nearly two-thirds of carbon pollution by 2035, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said. The UN chief was even more blunt, calling for an end to new fossil fuel exploration and for rich countries to phase out coal, oil and gas by 2040.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that humanity is on thin ice and that ice is melting fast. “Our world needs climate action on all fronts – everything, everywhere, together.”

Stepping up his calls for action on fossil fuels, Guterres called on rich countries to accelerate their goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2040, and developing countries to aim for 2050 – up from current targets. About a decade ago. They called on them to phase out coal by 2030 and 2040, respectively, and ensure carbon-free electricity generation in the developed world by 2035, meaning no gas-fired power plants.

The date is important because, according to the Paris Climate Agreement, nations soon have to come up with pollution reduction targets by 2035. After a contentious debateA UN science report adopted on Sunday concluded that the world needs to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2035 compared to 2019 in order to stay below the temperature limit set in Paris. The six previous reports since then have included a new target that was not previously mentioned. 2018.

“Choices and actions implemented this decade will have impacts for thousands of years,” the report said, adding that climate change “threatens human health and planetary health.”

“We are not on the right track but it is not too late,” said Aditi Mukherjee, a water scientist and co-author of the report. “Our intention is truly a message of hope, not of doom.”

Only a few tenths of a degree from Earth A globally agreed goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) Since the pre-industrial age, scientists have emphasized a sense of urgency. This goal was adopted as part of the 2015 Paris climate agreement and the world has already warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit).

This is likely the last warning that the Nobel Peace Prize-winning scientists’ collection will manage to make around 1.5 because their next set of reports may come after the Earth has either breached that mark or It will soon be surpassed. including the report’s authors, told The Associated Press.

After 1.5 degrees “risks start to increase,” said report co-author Francis X. Johnson, a climate, land and policy scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute. It is mentioned in the report. “tipping points” around this temperature Extinction of species, incl Coral reefsIrreversible Melting of ice sheets And Sea level rise On the order of several meters (several yards).

“1.5 is an important threshold, especially for small islands and mountain (communities) that depend on glaciers,” said Mukherjee, who is also director of the Climate Change Impacts Platform at the research institute CGIAR.

“The window is closing if emissions are not reduced as soon as possible,” Johnson said in an interview. “Scientists are quite nervous.”

Many scientists, including at least three of the co-authors, said hitting 1.5 degrees is inevitable.

“We’re pretty much locked into 1.5,” said report co-author Malte Menchausen, a climate scientist at the University of Melbourne in Australia. “There is little way we can avoid exceeding 1.5C. Sometime in the 2030s But the big issue is whether the temperature continues to rise or stabilize from there.

“A limit of 1.5 degrees is achievable,” Guterres insisted. “The world is still far away,” said Husong Lee, head of the science panel.

“This report confirms that if current trends, current patterns of consumption and production continue, the global average temperature will rise by 1.5 degrees this decade,” Lee said.

Scientists emphasize that the world, civilization or humanity will not suddenly end if and when the Earth passes the 1.5 degree mark. “It’s not like it’s a cliff from which we all fall,” Mukherjee said. But An earlier report by the IPCC explained how the losses occur. – Arctic sea ice from absent summers Even the worst weather – are far worse than 1.5 degrees of warming.

“It’s certainly prudent to plan for more than 1.5 degrees of warming for the future,” said Steven Rose, an economist at the Electric Power Research Institute in the United States and editor of the IPCC report’s review.

The report states that if the world continues to use all fossil fuel-powered infrastructure either existing or proposed, the Earth will be at least 2 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times.

Because this report is based on data from a few years ago, calculations for fossil fuel projects already in the pipeline are not included. Increased use of coal and natural gas following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It comes a week after the Biden administration in the United States. Major Willow oil drilling project approved in Alaskawhich can produce 180,000 barrels of oil per day.

The report and discussion also touch on disparities between rich countries, Which caused a lot of trouble. Because carbon dioxide emissions from industrialization remain in the air for more than a century. Poorer countries are more affected. from extreme weather. Residents of poor climate-vulnerable countries are 15 times more likely to die in floods, droughts and storms, Li said.

If the world is to meet its climate goals, it needs a three- to sixfold increase in financial support for poor countries to adapt to a warming world and shift to cleaner energy, Li said. Countries have made Financial commitments And Commitment to Damage Compensation Fund.

The report offers hope if action is taken, using the word “opportunity” nine times in its 27-page summary. Although opportunity is overshadowed by the 94 uses of the word “threat”.

“The pace and scale of what has been done so far and the current plans are insufficient to tackle climate change,” IPCC chief Li said. “We’re walking when we should be running.”

Lee said the panel does not tell countries what to do to limit warming, adding that “it is up to each government to find the best solution.”

Activists also found a glimmer of hope in the reports.

“The findings of these reports can leave us pessimistic about the slow pace of emissions reductions, the limited transition to renewable energy and the growing, daily impact of the climate crisis on children,” said youth climate activist Vanessa Nickett. , UNICEF. “But these kids need us to read this report and take action, don’t lose hope.”

Peter Thorne, a researcher at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth and one of the report’s authors, said the onus was on everyone to take action.

“The reality is that we at all levels – governments, communities, individuals – have made climate change someone else’s problem,” he said. “We have to stop it.”

Bornstein reported from Kensington, Maryland.

Follow Seth Borenstein and Frank Jordans on Twitter. @borenbears And @wirereporter

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Associated Press climate and environmental coverage is supported by several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative Here. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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