The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Report: Current Climate Policies Will Warm the World by 3.3˚C
But in a study released Tuesday, researchers determined that the current climate polices of governments around the world will push Earth towards 3.3˚C of warming. That's more than two times the aspirational 1.5˚C target adopted by nearly 200 nations under the 2015 Paris agreement.
The report is an annual update of the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), an independent scientific analysis produced by three European research organizations. The CAT is based on policy movements made by governments since the Paris accord.
The report found that even if all governments achieved their Paris agreement commitments, the world will still likely warm 3.0°C.
Even an increase of 2°C—the upper warming limit adopted in Paris—would cause approximately 4 inches of sea level rise, increase the chance of ice-free Arctic summers from once-per-decade to once-per-century, devastate tropical coral reefs and push hundreds of millions of people from climate risk and poverty by 2050, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said.
Alarmingly, the majority of countries that were tracked in the CAT report have not yet fully aligned their policies to actually achieve their Paris commitments.
However, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, the European Union, India and Morocco have taken "significant steps in the right direction," the report says.
Meanwhile, the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates were singled out for making insufficient progress or even moving in the wrong direction in terms of greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
The report notes that China's coal consumption has risen for a second year in a row, and Brazil "appears to have turned away from its forest protection policies even before its recent change of government."
The authors of the CAT report note that limiting warming to 1.5˚C is "feasible and has substantial economic and sustainable development benefits."
They praised countries such as Norway and Costa Rica for their efforts to deploy renewable energy and plans to decarbonize their transportation sectors. They highlighted Chile's 2050 energy strategy which aims at decarbonizing the energy system, India's National Electricity Plan and South Africa's energy resource strategy that aims to shift away from coal toward renewables and gas.
As for the U.S., despite the Trump administration's efforts to roll back climate policies, the country's emissions are "slowing as coal continues to exit the power market, driven by the declining costs of renewables and storage," the report says
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned in October that limiting warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels was possible but would require social and technological change on a scale for which "there is no documented historic precedent," The Washington Post reported.
"We have yet to see this translate into action in terms of what governments are prepared to put on the table," Bill Hare, chief executive of Climate Analytics, one of the three CAT research groups, told Reuters.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Emily Deanne
Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.
By Lorraine Chow
Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.
States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Kristin Ohlson
From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.
Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.
By Hans Nicholas Jong
Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.
It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."