World facing severe climate impacts by failing to cut emissions

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Nov. 10 (UPI) — Efforts to cut emissions and limit global warming are on the edge of failure and in need of “ratcheting up” to avoid severe climate impacts, a report from the Department of Energy says.

The goal of keeping average global temperatures from surpassing 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels will fail unless the world’s biggest emitters execute plans they committed to at COP26 last year. If not, it is inevitable that the mark, considered a red line in climate change, will be surpassed and an even more grave outcome will become likely.

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The report, published in Nature Climate Change, says new efforts need to be made to avoid passing 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming before the end of this century, and those plans need to begin by 2030. Otherwise more aggressive carbon-cutting efforts must be made, including global net zero carbon emissions by 2057.

“Let’s face it. We are going to breach the 1.5 degrees limit in the next couple of decades,” coauthor scientist Haewon McJeon of the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory said in a statement, reported by The Hill.

At the current pace of global emissions, the focus will soon shift to limiting how much over 1.5 degrees Celsius global temperatures rise. At that level, there would be “irreversible and adverse consequences for human and natural systems,” said Gokul Iyer, lead researcher on the report.

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If global temperatures rise to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the outcome becomes much more threatening. The loss of biodiversity would double if not triple what it would be at 1.5 degrees, drought and disease would drastically increase and extreme heat waves would affect twice as much of the world.

The United States is among several of the largest carbon emitters who have not fully implemented their agreed upon mitigation efforts. President Joe Biden will attend COP27 in Egypt on Friday, and will tout the efforts of his administration to combat climate change, according to a statement from the White House.

“At COP27 and beyond, the United States will encourage countries — particularly major economies — and the private sector to not only implement existing commitments and goals, but to also enhance commitments and goals to help close the gap between current pledges and what the latest science tells us is urgently needed,” the statement said.