Almost 3 degrees Celsius – this is how much the average global temperature may increase by the end of this century. According to a United Nations report published on Monday, to stop the climate catastrophe, it will be necessary to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The year 2023 may turn out to be the hottest in recorded history. Data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) show that since January, temperatures have been on average 1.43 degrees Celsius higher than those in the pre-industrial era. As United Nations analyzes show, over the next decades the values we consider critical today may become our new reality.
According to the UN’s “Emissions Gap 2023” analysis published on Monday, countries’ commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient to limit global warming to the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius. If these commitments remain unchanged, global temperatures will increase by 2.5-2.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st century.
“There is a big gap between where individual countries’ commitments are taking us and where we should be heading,” said Anne Olhoff, leader of the research team. – It hasn’t really changed compared to last year.
How can warming of 3 degrees Celsius affect the natural environment and people? Scientists predict that because of it, the world may exceed several catastrophic tipping points: from the uncontrolled melting of the ice cap to the drying up of the Amazon rainforest.
– Temperature increases will be different in different parts of the world, and 2.9 degrees on a global scale could, for example, translate into over 6 degrees Celsius in some parts of Africa – Olhoff added. – By doing so, we risk making large parts of the world uninhabitable and people’s livelihoods destroyed.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has repeatedly indicated that if we fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the world will face a “hellish” future.
There is still hope
As scientists emphasize, limiting the temperature increase is still possible. To maintain the 1.5C threshold set in the Paris Agreement, emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases must fall by 22 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas equivalents in 2030, or 42 percent of current emissions. Reducing this value by 14 gigatons will limit the increase to 2 degrees Celsius.
– However, we can see that something has changed, and one promising sign is that, compared to 2015, current policies are being implemented to a greater extent. Forecasts for emissions levels in 2030, made before the adoption of the Paris Agreement, were much higher. This shows that policy implementation is taking place but is simply not going far enough, Olhoff explained.
World leaders will soon meet in Dubai for the annual UN COP28 climate summit, which aims to keep warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as set out in the Paris Agreement.
Reuters, The Guardian, UN
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/Isaac Fontana