World fails to make necessary changes to prevent climate degradation, report says

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World fails to make necessary changes to prevent climate degradation, report says


Every corner of society is failing to take the ‘transformational change’ needed to avoid the most dire consequences of the climate crisis, with trends either too slow or in some cases even declining, according to a major new global analysis.

In 40 different areas spanning the power sector, heavy industry, agriculture, transportation, finance and technology, none are changing fast enough to avoid a global warming of 1.5 ° C beyond pre-industrial era, a key focus of the Paris climate agreement, according to the new Systems Change Lab report.

Table showing the state of the 31 indicators needed to limit warming to 1.5C by 2030.

The dangerously slow pace of decarbonization, highlighted just days before the start of crucial UN climate talks in Scotland, further underscores how the world is on track in its attempts to curb the degradation of the climate. weather.

Atmospheric levels of gases heating the planet hit a new high last year, and the UN has warned that the amount of fossil fuel extraction countries predicted is “well above” the limit needed to stay below the threshold. 1.5 ° C.

“We need to do it all across all sectors, transforming our power generation, diets, land management and more, all simultaneously,” said Kelly Levin, chief science officer at Bezos Earth Fund, one of the report’s co-authors. “We need transformational change and it is very clear that the trends are not changing fast enough. ”

From renewable electricity generation and meat consumption to public financing of fossil fuels, the report found that no indicator showed the progress needed to cut emissions by half over this decade before phasing out completely greenhouse gases by 2050, which would give the world a chance to stay below 1.5C.

According to the analysis, charcoal must be removed five times faster than today, while the rate of reforestation must be three times faster. Coastal wetlands need to be restored almost three times faster, climate finance needs to grow 13 times faster, and the energy intensity of buildings needs to fall at a rate almost three times faster than today.

In the rich countries of Europe and North America, beef consumption is expected to decline 1.5 times faster than it is now. In these countries with high meat consumption and abundant alternatives, reducing the equivalent of a hamburger and a half per person per week would significantly reduce the demand for land and greenhouse gas emissions.

There are some glimmers of promise: The global share of electricity produced from solar and wind has grown by 15% per year over the past five years and renewables have become the most cost-effective replacement for the world. coal in most places. Electric vehicle adoption is on the rise, reaching over 4% of global car sales last year.

The report also found that there was a good chance, with the right support, of “exponential” advances in technology such as direct removal of carbon dioxide from the air, which scientists say will likely need to be be deployed on a large scale to reduce the aggravation. climatic disasters. But overall the picture is of a world that is changing too slowly to cope with the climate crisis.

“While things are going in the right direction in some areas, we are moving too slowly to avoid 1.5 ° C,” said Sophie Boehm, climate researcher at the World Resources Institute and co-author of the report. “If this continues, we will be woefully short of targets to avoid catastrophic climate change. It is very worrying that we are not on the right track for any of these target areas.

While progress lags in most places, three areas in particular – cement production, steelmaking and efforts to impose a levy on carbon emissions – are stagnating, according to the report. Three others – emissions from agriculture, the share of car trips and the rate of deforestation – are heading in the wrong direction.

“We need full U-turns from these areas,” Levin said. “With climate change, you can’t just go in the right direction, you have to do it at a steady pace. Without it, we will reach disastrous tipping points.

There is little optimism that countries will make the commitments required to save this situation during the Glasgow talks, known as Cop26, with Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, admitting he is “touched.” and go ”if the required action will be taken. John Kerry, who is Joe Biden’s climate envoy, said there would likely be “gaps” in the emission reduction plans proposed by governments.

If the world exceeds 1.5 ° C of global warming, the planet will be hit by an increasing frequency of deadly heat waves, devastating storms, catastrophic floods and crop failures, wiping out billions of dollars in economic activity. and forcing the displacement of millions of people. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has warned the world faces a “hellish future” because of its lack of urgency to deal with the crisis.

“We have the technology to decarbonize the majority of these areas,” said Bill Hare, chief executive of Climate Analytics, an organization that contributed to the new report. “What we need is political will and governments to seize the opportunity that this transition will bring to their economies. “

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