Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Next Three Years Will Decide Fate of Our Planet's Climate, Experts Warn

Popular

By Andy Rowell

Never has the paradox been greater. While the most powerful politician in the world is a climate denier, scientists are now warning that we have just three years to start making radical reductions to greenhouse gases.

Put it another way: that is the term of the Trump presidency. We have three and a bit years left of Trump (if he does not get impeached in the meantime) and we have three years left to save the climate, and begin to bring emissions down by 2020.


Writing in the scientific journal Nature, leading climate scientists have issued their sternest warning yet that time is seriously running out to prevent runaway climate change.

"Should emissions continue to rise beyond 2020, or even remain level, the temperature goals set in Paris become almost unattainable," they warn. "Lowering emissions globally is a monumental task, but research tells us that it is necessary, desirable and achievable."

Indeed, if action is not taken by 2020, we could see that Paris agreed limit of 1.5 to 2 degrees being surpassed quite quickly.

They tell world leaders to be driven by the science rather than "hide their heads in the sand." "Entire ecosystems" were already collapsing, they warn.

The article was signed by more than 60 scientists, including professor Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University as well as politicians such as former Mexican President Felipe Calderon and ex-Irish President Mary Robinson, and former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres.

"We stand at the doorway of being able to bend the emissions curve downwards by 2020, as science demands, in protection of the UN sustainable development goals, and in particular the eradication of extreme poverty," said Figueres, also the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, under whom the Paris agreement was signed.

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, another signatory, added, "The math is brutally clear: while the world can't be healed within the next few years, it may be fatally wounded by negligence [before] 2020."

The article outlined six goals for 2020 which could be adopted at the upcoming G20 meeting in Hamburg July 7-8, including increasing renewable energy to 30 percent of electricity use; plans from leading cities and states to decarbonize by 2050; increasing the percentage of new electric vehicles to 15 percent as well as reforms to agriculture, finance and industry.

The good news is that, despite Trump in the White House, climate action is carrying on at a local level. So far, the mayors of more than 7,400 cities worldwide across the world have vowed that Trump's withdrawal from the Paris agreement will do the opposite of what Trump intended: encourage much greater efforts at the local level to combat climate change.

At the first meeting of a "global covenant of mayors," city leaders representing just less than 10 percent of the world's population come together this week to commit to the carbon reductions pledged by Obama, not Trump.

"The Trump administration better watch out for U.S. cities," said Gregor Robertson, mayor of Vancouver. "They are on the rise, and I think will prevail in the end, turning the tide, and making sure the U.S. is a climate leader rather than what is happening currently."

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, added, "We are creating a groundswell of climate leadership by the mayors because cities large and small, rural and urban, in blue and red states, experience the effects of climate change every single day. Climate change touches us all and unites us."

Kassim Reed, the mayor of Atlanta, told reporters bluntly, "Right now you have a level of collaboration and focus and sharing of best practices that I haven't seen … My firm belief is that President Trump's disappointing decision to withdraw from the agreement will actually have the opposite effect in terms of execution."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A man pushes his mother in a wheelchair down Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami on May 19, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, in a sign that the outbreak is not letting up as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off.

Read More Show Less
To better understand how people influence the overall health of dolphins, Oklahoma State University's Unmanned Systems Research Institute is developing a drone to collect samples from the spray that comes from their blowholes. Ken Y. / CC by 2.0

By Jason Bruck

Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.

Read More Show Less

Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.

Read More Show Less
Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks. jacqueline / CC by 2.0

By Kelli McGrane

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.

Read More Show Less

"Emissions from pyrotechnic displays are composed of numerous organic compounds as well as metals," a new study reports. Nodar Chernishev / EyeEm / Getty Images

Fireworks have taken a lot of heat recently. In South Dakota, fire experts have said President Trump's plan to hold a fireworks show is dangerous and public health experts have criticized the lack of plans to enforce mask wearing or social distancing. Now, a new study shows that shooting off fireworks at home may expose you and your family to dangerous levels of lead, copper and other toxins.

Read More Show Less
Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons. Curtis Palmer / CC by 2.0

By Ashutosh Pandey

Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons (Mt), or 7.3 kilogram per person, a UN report showed on Thursday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A women walks with COVID-19 care kits distributed by Boston's Office of Neighborhood Services in Boston, Massachusetts on May 28, 2020. The pandemic has led to a rise in single-use plastic items, but reusable bags and cloth masks can be two ways to reduce waste. JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP via Getty Images

This month is Plastic Free July, the 31 days every year when millions of people pledge to give up single-use plastics.

Read More Show Less