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Rich Countries Fail to Agree to Rapid Decline of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Some of the world’s richest countries are not doing enough to limit their greenhouse gas emissions, according to new analysis.
The report by Climate Action Tracker (CAT) says that all the G7 countries and the member states of the European Union (EU) have so far agreed to keep their emissions at around their present levels for the next 15 years, instead of cutting them fast.
The combined climate plans for the G7 and the EU mark “a small step towards the right track to hold warming to two degrees Celsius, but they still leave a substantial emissions gap,” according to analysts from CAT, which reports on countries’ emissions commitments and performance.
The gap yawns so wide that the present level of commitment shown by the two blocs would go less than one-third of the way to staying within the two degrees Celsius limit, they find.
And they say there is “an extreme risk” that this low level of ambition could continue until 2030 to keep emissions so high that it would be impossible to stay within the two degrees Celsius warming limit, agreed by the world’s governments.
The concern is based on what climate negotiators call the blocs’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), undertakings given by governments about what each of them will do to implement the global agreement on tackling climate change that they hope to reach at the UN climate change conference in Paris later this year.
With the G7 countries meeting in Germany yesterday and today, CAT—a consortium of four research organizations—has looked at the combined INDCs of all G7 governments and the EU, who account together for around 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 40 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP).
The current policies of the G7 and the EU, CAT says, are projected only to stabilize emissions through 2030 at close to present levels, despite the need for a rapid decline in emissions.
The combined effect of the G7 and EU INDCs for 2025 and 2030 would bring the group to no more than 20-30 percent of the reductions needed to stay within the two degrees Celsius limit, or the more stringent 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold for which many climate scientists are pressing.
The authors say the G7 and EU governments must significantly improve on the INDCs they have submitted so far before the Paris talks start on Nov. 30. They also urge that the INDC commitments should be limited in time—for example, to the five years from 2021 to 2025—to avoid locking in emissions levels that are inconsistent with the two degrees Celsius and 1.5 degrees Celsius thresholds.
“This gap shows us that it’s very clear the G7 and EU need to urgently revise their current policies,” says Bill Hare, of Climate Analytics, one of the consortium members. “They need to review—and increase—their stated climate plans before Paris, so that the Paris Agreement can make major steps towards setting the world on a below-two-degrees-Celsius pathway.
“The G7+EU INDCs on the table now show there is an extreme risk of locking in, until 2030, high emissions levels that are inconsistent with holding warming below two degrees Celsius and to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Waiting 15 years from today to increase emissions reductions—and 10 years after the 2020 agreement comes into force—could be very dangerous for the planet.”
The authors say the EU’s policies would bring it close to achieving its INDC in 2030, but the U.S., Canada and Japan still have a lot of work to do. They call Canada’s INDC and Japan’s draft INDC “inadequate.”
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Cabin fever is often associated with being cooped up on a rainy weekend or stuck inside during a winter blizzard.
In reality, though, it can actually occur anytime you feel isolated or disconnected from the outside world.
What is cabin fever?<p>In popular expressions, cabin fever is used to explain feeling bored or listless because you've been stuck inside for a few hours or days. But that's not the reality of the symptoms.</p><p>Instead, cabin fever is a series of negative emotions and distressing sensations people may face if they're isolated or feeling cut off from the world.</p><p>These feelings of isolation and loneliness are more likely in times of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/yes-covid-19-cases-are-rising-why-you-still-need-to-practice-social-distancing" target="_blank">social distancing</a>, self-quarantining during a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-pandemic" target="_blank">pandemic</a>, or sheltering in place because of severe weather.</p><p>Indeed, cabin fever can lead to a series of symptoms that can be difficult to manage without proper coping techniques.</p><p>Cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological disorder, but that doesn't mean the feelings aren't real. The distress is very real. It can make fulfilling the requirements of everyday life difficult.</p>
What are the symptoms?<p>Symptoms of cabin fever go far beyond feeling bored or "stuck" at home. They're rooted in an intense feeling of isolation and may include:</p><ul><li>restlessness</li><li>decreased motivation</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irritability" target="_blank">irritability</a></li><li>hopelessness</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate" target="_blank">difficulty concentrating</a></li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irregular-sleep-wake-syndrome" target="_blank">irregular sleep patterns</a>, including sleepiness or sleeplessness</li><li>difficulty waking up</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/lethargy" target="_blank">lethargy</a></li><li>distrust of people around you</li><li>lack of patience</li><li>persistent <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/depression-vs-sadness" target="_blank">sadness or depression<br></a></li></ul>
What can help you cope with cabin fever?<p>Because cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological condition, there's no standard "treatment." However, mental health professionals do recognize that the symptoms are very real.</p><p>The coping mechanism that works best for you will have a lot to do with your personal situation and the reason you're secluded in the first place.</p><p>Finding meaningful ways to engage your brain and occupy your time can help alleviate the distress and irritability that cabin fever brings.</p><p>The following ideas are a good place to start.</p>
When to get help<p>Cabin fever is often a fleeting feeling. You may feel irritable or frustrated for a few hours, but having a virtual chat with a friend or finding a task to distract your mind may help erase the frustrations you felt earlier.</p><p>Sometimes, however, the feelings may grow stronger, and no coping mechanisms may be able to successfully help you eliminate your feelings of isolation, sadness, or depression.</p><p>What's more, if your time indoors is prolonged by outside forces, like weather or extended shelter-in-place orders from your local government, feelings of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety" target="_blank">anxiety</a> and fear are valid.</p><p>In fact, anxiety may be at the root of some cabin fever symptoms. This may make symptoms worse.</p><p>If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you understand what you're experiencing. Together, you can identify ways to overcome the feelings and anxiety.</p><p>Of course, if you're in isolation or practicing social distancing, you'll need to look for alternative means for seeing a mental health expert.</p><p>Telehealth options may be available to connect you with your therapist if you already have one. If you don't, reach out to your doctor for recommendations about mental health specialists who can connect with you online.</p><p>If you don't want to talk to a therapist, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/top-iphone-android-apps" target="_blank">smartphone apps for depression</a> may provide a complementary option for addressing your cabin fever symptoms.</p>
The bottom line<p>Isolation isn't a natural state for many people. We are, for the most part, social animals. We enjoy each other's company. That's what can make staying at home for extended periods of time difficult.</p><p>However, whether you're sheltering at home to avoid dangerous weather conditions or heeding the guidelines to help minimize the spread of a disease, staying at home is often an important thing we must do for ourselves and our communities.</p><p>If and when it's necessary, finding ways to engage your brain and occupy your time may help bat back cabin fever and the feelings of isolation and restlessness that often accompany it.</p>
Pope Francis spoke about the novel coronavirus, suggesting that the global pandemic might be one of nature's responses to the man-made climate crisis.