World Continues on a Dangerous Path in Pursuit of Crucial Climate Goal
Despite the global celebrations that followed the Paris Agreement in 2015, the world is still moving in the wrong direction when it comes to achieving its climate target.
The goal is to limit the rise in temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably not exceeding 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels when we began burning coal and oil.
However, a recent report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) suggests that we are on a trajectory to see temperatures rise by 2.5-2.9 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels during this century.
"There have been no significant improvements. We have very little time left to act if we want to stay within the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement," says Anne Olhoff from the green think tank Concito, who is the scientific editor of the report.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global surface temperature is now 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than it was in 1850-1900, and this upward trend appears set to continue.
If all countries fulfill their climate pledges, the temperature increase could reach 2.9 degrees Celsius this century, while achieving the 2.5-degree target requires conditional commitments to be met as well.
However, this hinges on taking concrete actions rather than just making promises. If current policies persist, we are on course for a 3-degree rise. All three scenarios have a 66% probability.
This annual report arrives at a time when last year's predictions suggested a temperature increase of 2.4-2.8 degrees—lower than the current estimates. Anne Olhoff attributes this difference to the use of multiple models in this year's projections.
These temperature figures represent global averages, but some regions will experience even greater warming, as has already occurred in certain areas.
"When we talk about a temperature increase of 2.5-3 degrees, it could mean up to six degrees or more in certain parts of the world, such as large parts of Africa," warns Anne Olhoff.
She emphasizes that such increases could fundamentally alter living conditions.
The report's release coincides with the annual United Nations climate summit, which is being held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This event has been described by many as the most significant since the Paris Agreement was signed.
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