BERLIN – Recent pledges by the United States and other countries could help cap global warming at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) by the turn of the century, but only if targets for reducing gas emissions greenhouse gases to “net zero” by 2050 are successful, scientists said on Tuesday.
More than 190 countries agreed in Paris six years ago to keep average temperature increases below this level – ideally no more than 1.5 C (2.7 F) – by 2100 compared to the pre-industrial era.
The Climate Action Tracker, compiled by a group of researchers who translate emission pledges into temperature estimates, projects that the world is currently poised to exceed the Paris Agreement target of 0.9 degrees.
But if 131 countries that account for nearly three-quarters of global emissions meet their promised or discussed “net zero” target, then the 2-degree target could be met, said Niklas Hoehne of the New Climate Institute. That’s 0.1 ° C lower than the group’s previous optimistic forecast in December.
Hoehne said US President Joe Biden’s ambitious new climate targets have contributed significantly to the revised estimate, alongside the European Union, China, Japan and Britain.
But the promises are still insufficient and have yet to be revised in the future, he said.
“We need to halve global emissions over the next 10 years,” he said.
When asked if the more ambitious 1.5C target was still within reach, Hoehne said it was technically and politically achievable.
Germany has invited around 40 countries to a virtual meeting this week to discuss additional international efforts to curb global warming, ahead of the United Nations summit in Glasgow in November.
Germany’s highest court last week ordered the government to set clearer emission reduction targets after 2030.