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UN report | Global warming is accelerating instead of slowing down

Global warming has been accelerating since pre-industrial times, reaching 2.5 to 2.9 degrees Celsius, a warming that will far exceed the agreed international climate threshold, according to a United Nations report.

To have any chance of keeping global warming to the 1.5 degree Celsius limit adopted in the 2015 Paris agreement, countries must cut emissions by 42% by the end of the decade, the Program said of the United Nations Environment in an emissions gap report released Monday. Carbon emissions from burning coal, oil and gas increased 1.2% last year, the report said.

This year, Earth got a taste of what’s to come, says the report, which sets the stage for international climate negotiations later this month.

Through the end of September, the daily average global temperature exceeded 1.5 degrees Celsius above mid-19th century levels.e century for 86 days this year, according to the report. But that figure rose to 127 days as almost all of the first two weeks of November and all of October reached or exceeded 1.5 degrees, according to the European climate service Copernicus. That’s 40% of days so far this year.

On Friday, the global temperature reached 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels for the first time in history, according to Copernicus Deputy Director Samantha Burgess.

“It’s really an indication that we’re already seeing a change, an acceleration,” said the report’s lead author, Anne Olhoff of the Danish climate think tank Concito.

“From what science tells us, it’s like a whisper. What happens in the future will be more like a roar. »

The 1.5 degree target is based on a period measured over several years, not several days, the scientists said. Previous reports predicted that Earth would reach this longer-term limit in early 2029 without drastic changes in emissions.

Progress too modest

To prevent this from happening, countries around the world need to set tougher targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and implement policies to achieve these targets, Olhoff.

In the last two years, only nine countries have set new targets, so this has not changed things, but some countries, notably the United States and Europe, have implemented policies that have slightly improved the outlook, she said.

The US Inflation Reduction Act, which earmarks US$375 billion for clean energy, would reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 1 billion tonnes by 2030, she said.

That sounds like a lot, but in 2022 the world released 57.4 billion tons of greenhouse gases, and to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, emissions in 2030 will need to be reduced to 33 billion tons. This represents an “emissions gap” of 24 billion tonnes.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that “the emissions gap is more like an emissions canyon – a canyon littered with broken promises, shattered lives and broken records.”

An unattainable goal

That’s why the report says the chance of keeping warming at 1.5 degrees or less is about one in seven, or about 14 percent, which is “really very, very slim,” Olhoff.

If the world wants to settle for a warming limit of 2 degrees Celsius – a secondary threshold in the Paris agreement – ​​it only needs to reduce its emissions to 41 billion tonnes, with a gap of 16 billion tonnes of here, the report says.

Given that the world has already warmed by nearly 1.2 degrees Celsius since the mid-19th century, the report’s projections would mean an additional warming of 1.3 to 1.7 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. century.

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