The world has temporarily approached a dangerous climate threshold.  We are heading in a worse direction

17 November In Poland it did not particularly stand out in terms weatherBut on a global level, this day was a great achievement – ​​in the negative sense. Information from European Copernicus Programme He showed that after that day, for the first time in the history of measurements, we (temporarily) exceeded two degrees of global warming. The temperature on a given day is not a disaster in itself, but it is a harbinger of what may lie ahead. Especially since we still aren’t doing enough to keep temperatures rising to somewhat safe levels.

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The 2 degree warming threshold appears in both major scientific reports and the Paris Agreement. In this 2015 agreement, almost all countries in the world agreed to keep temperature increases well below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably 1.5 degrees (compared to the average in the mid-19th century, before we started burning fossil fuels and changing the composition of the atmosphere ). ). An increase of 1.5 degrees is considered a fairly safe level at which warming can realistically be stopped. It’s already dangerously close – so far we’ve warmed the Earth by about 1.2 degrees.

What is very important is the average temperature over many years. Therefore, exceeding the daily increase of 1.5 degrees for a day, a month, or even a year does not mean that we have crossed this threshold. However, the more days like this, the closer you get to a dangerous level. Experts agree that even a two-degree pause in warming is a strong warning signal. It rang at an important moment. At the end of this month, the next global climate summit, COP28, will begin in Dubai. Before the negotiations began, the United Nations showed that despite promises and agreements, we are still far from the right track to stop global warming.

Climate abyss

On Monday, the annual report on…Emissions gap. This gap constitutes the difference between the measures needed to stop global warming and what countries around the world are planning and what they are actually doing. Once again, it is a widening abyss, and every year that passes without a sharp reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions takes us further away from the target.

Under the Paris Agreement, each country makes its own promises about how quickly and to what extent it will reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide and other planet-warming gases. Now these plans are far from enough. The report’s authors calculate that, if implemented (which is not certain), temperatures will rise by as much as 2.5 to 2.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. This means that we will forcefully breach the security borders. The nearly three degrees of warming we are currently headed towards is a catastrophic level. Suffice it to say that climate change-related anomalies in recent years – wildfires, floods and droughts – have already been observed at a temperature rise of 1.2 degrees. As we approach 3 degrees Celsius, vast areas of the planet, inhabited by up to 3 billion people, will at least temporarily become too hot for normal life.

According to the report, we have a narrow window to keep the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. In order to achieve this, we must reduce our emissions by at least 42% by 2030. However, this cannot wait until 2026 or 2028. If we do not start reducing emissions immediately, within a few years the necessary rate of change will be greater Than to be possible.

At this moment, not only are we not on track to achieve this goal, we are still moving in the opposite direction. The report showed that in 2022 global emissions did not decrease, but rather increased by 1.2%. Compared to 2021.

(Very slow) progress

The report highlights progress over the past eight years – but it has been too slow. When the Paris Agreement was signed, emissions were expected to increase by 16% by 2030. The current forecast is for a 3% decline. On the one hand, this is undoubtedly progress. On the other hand, according to experts, emissions must be reduced by 42%, so there is still a gap between our plans and our needs.

The most necessary action is an immediate move away from coal, oil and gas, including a planned cessation of further extraction. If we burned available fuel in working and planned mines or wells, we would exceed the emissions limit of 1.5 degrees of warming by more than three times.

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