Climate Change

Catastrophic lack of action on climate change

The UN has warned that it may not be possible to restrict temperature rise up to 2°C citing a gap between commitments and action

By A K Ghosh
Published: Monday 13 November 2017

(Wikimedia Commons)

The landmark Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, brought hope to all participating countries as a big step towards restricting climate change. It set a goal of limiting temperature rise within 2°C above pre-industrial levels for which countries announced their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC).

The first setback to this goal was when USA, one of the world’s largest carbon emitter, decided to withdraw from the accord. Now, the United Nations has warned of a “catastrophic gap between what needs to be done on climate change and what government and companies are actually doing” and it is now apprehended that current trend of energy use will lead to a 3°C rise in temperature causing immense misery to the living world.

The UNEP has also warned that it may not be possible to achieve the goal of Paris Agreement and restrict temperature rise up to 2°C. The UN Emission Gap Report 2017, according to media reports, states that more ambitious national contributions will be necessary by 2020. If the emission gap between commitment and reality is not closed by 2030, “the objective of restricting the rise of global temperature within 2°C from the pre-industrialised era” would be very difficult to achieve. Significant emission cuts—at least 30-50 gigatonnes a year—is possible at minimum cost. Reports have warned that rise in temperature will accelerate and the average temperature rise in India has already touched 1.5°C.

But not all is lost. Some hope remains as China, another big polluter, has already achieved its goal on increasing renewable capacity, which was set for 2022. India is also pushing for solar energy. And after 2014, CO2 emission rise seems to have stopped, at least for the time being.

This can be taken forward at the upcoming UN Environment Assembly, world’s highest body on environment, will gather in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2017.

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