Friday, March 13, 2020

Flattening the Climate Heating Curve

The UN's 2019 Emissions Gap Report warns that the world is "on the brink of missing the opportunity to limit global heating to 1.5°C". In other words the staggering inaction of governments around the world in the face of global heating is making it more and more likely that the world will suffer widespread and catastrophic environmental disaster. The report is also very clear that the actions needed to avert environmental disaster become more and more severe the longer we put off responding to global heating.

Every fraction of additional warming beyond 1.5°C will result in increasingly severe and expensive impacts

Every year the UN looks at what progress countries are making to close the emissions gap and what degree of climate heating is likely to occur under these conditions. Of all the G20 countries so far only two, the UK and France, have passed net-zero emission target legislation.

The 1.5°C goal is on the brink of becoming impossible

The consequences of not restricting global heating to 1.5°C will be devastating. Global heating at 2°C will result in sea levels rising 1 metre higher than global heating at 1.5°C. At 1.5°C over 70% of coral reefs will die. At 2°C virtually all coral reefs in the whole world will be dead. Extreme droughts, storms and other weather events become much more likely the hotter the world becomes.

We need to reduce emissions by 7.6% every year

The actions needed to avoid catastrophic environmental disaster become more & more severe with each passing year. If we want to restrict global heating to 1.5°C we need to reduce emissions by 7.6% every year. This percentage rises every year that we don't meet the current target. If we don't act now to enforce net-zero emission target legislation in countries around the world then the human and economic cost of avoiding global heating will continue to rise.

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