Step up on climate or choose ‘immoral, suicidal’ path, says UN chief

Step up on climate or choose ‘immoral, suicidal’ path, says UN chief

SOURCE: Climate Change News DATE: December 12, 2018 SNIP: Governments face a choice between increasing their climate pledges or embarking on an “immoral” and “suicidal” path, UN secretary general António Guterres said on Wednesday. At a UN climate summit in Poland, Guterres was joined by Fijian prime minister Frank Bainimarama in issuing a plea for countries to renew and upgrade their Paris Agreement promises within a year. “To waste this opportunity would compromise our last best chance to stop runaway climate change. It would not only be immoral, it would be suicidal,” Guterres said. “This may sound like a dramatic appeal, but it is exactly this: a dramatic appeal.” Launching the call, Bainimarama said governments needed to increase their current national climate pledges five-fold to limit warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial level. “Or enter history as the generation that blew it; that sacrificed the health of our world and ultimately betrayed humanity because we didn’t have the courage and foresight to go beyond our short-term individual concerns. Craven, irresponsible and selfish,” said...
Global warming will happen faster than we think

Global warming will happen faster than we think

SOURCE: Nature DATE: December 5, 2018 SNIP: In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report setting out why we must stop global warming at 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, and how to do so. It is grim reading. If the planet warms by 2 °C — the widely touted temperature limit in the 2015 Paris climate agreement — twice as many people will face water scarcity than if warming is limited to 1.5 °C. That extra warming will also expose more than 1.5 billion people to deadly heat extremes, and hundreds of millions of individuals to vector-borne diseases such as malaria, among other harms. But the latest IPCC special report underplays another alarming fact: global warming is accelerating. Three trends — rising emissions, declining air pollution and natural climate cycles — will combine over the next 20 years to make climate change faster and more furious than anticipated. In our view, there’s a good chance that we could breach the 1.5 °C level by 2030, not by 2040 as projected in the special report (see ‘Accelerated warming’). The climate-modelling community has not grappled enough with the rapid changes that policymakers care most about, preferring to focus on longer-term trends and equilibria. Three lines of evidence suggest that global warming will be faster than projected in the recent IPCC special report. First, greenhouse-gas emissions are still rising. In 2017, industrial carbon dioxide emissions are estimated to have reached about 37 gigatonnes. This puts them on track with the highest emissions trajectory the IPCC has modelled so far. This dark news means that the next 25 years are poised to warm...
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accelerate Like a ‘Speeding Freight Train’ in 2018

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accelerate Like a ‘Speeding Freight Train’ in 2018

SOURCE: NYTimes DATE: December 6, 2018 SNIP: Greenhouse gas emissions worldwide are growing at an accelerating pace this year, researchers said Wednesday, putting the world on track to face some of the most severe consequences of global warming sooner than expected. Scientists described the quickening rate of carbon dioxide emissions in stark terms, comparing it to a “speeding freight train” and laying part of the blame on an unexpected surge in the appetite for oil as people around the world not only buy more cars but also drive them farther than in the past — more than offsetting any gains from the spread of electric vehicles. Worldwide, carbon emissions are expected to increase by 2.7 percent in 2018, according to the new research, which was published by the Global Carbon Project, a group of 100 scientists from more than 50 academic and research institutions and one of the few organizations to comprehensively examine global emissions numbers. Emissions rose 1.6 percent last year, the researchers said, ending a three-year plateau. The analysis found that the world is on pace to release a record 37.1 gigatons of planet-warming emissions in 2018, led in large part by China, the United States and India. Even as coal has fallen out of favor in some markets, the rise in emissions has been driven by stronger demand for natural gas and oil, scientists said. And even as the use of renewable energy like solar and wind power has expanded exponentially, it has not been enough to offset the increased use of fossil...
Portrait of a planet on the verge of climate catastrophe

Portrait of a planet on the verge of climate catastrophe

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: December 2, 2018 SNIP: For 24 years the annual UN climate conference has served up a reliable diet of rhetoric, backroom talks and dramatic last-minute deals aimed at halting global warming. But this year’s will be a grimmer affair – by far. As recent reports have made clear, the world may no longer be hovering at the edge of destruction but has probably staggered beyond a crucial point of no return. Climate catastrophe is now looking inevitable. We have simply left it too late to hold rising global temperatures to under 1.5C and so prevent a future of drowned coasts, ruined coral reefs, spreading deserts and melted glaciers. One example was provided last week by a UN report that revealed attempts to ensure fossil fuel emissions peak by 2020 will fail. Indeed the target will not even be reached by 2030. Another, by the World Meteorological Organization, said the past four years had been the warmest on record and warned that global temperatures could easily rise by 3-5C by 2100, well above that sought-after goal of 1.5C. The UK will not be exempt either. The Met Office said summer temperatures could now be 5.4C hotter by 2070. Nor will the planet’s woes end in 2100. Sea level rise could reach 0.74 to 1.8 metres by 2100. This would be enough to deluge Pacific and Indian Ocean island states and displace millions from Miami, Guangzhou, Mumbai and other low-lying cities. The total cost to the planet could top £11trillion. They will continue to climb for centuries even after greenhouse-gas levels have been stabilised. We could experience...
Past four years hottest on record, data shows

Past four years hottest on record, data shows

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: November 29, 2018 SNIP: Global temperatures have continued to rise in the past 10 months, with 2018 expected to be the fourth warmest year on record. Average temperatures around the world so far this year were nearly 1C (1.8F) above pre-industrial levels. Extreme weather has affected all continents, while the melting of sea ice and glaciers and rises in sea levels continue. The past four years have been the hottest on record, and the 20 warmest have occurred in the past 22 years. The warming trend is unmistakeable and shows we are running out of time to tackle climate change, according to the World Meteorological Organization, which on Thursday published its provisional statement on the State of the Climate in 2018. The WMO warned that, on current trends, warming could reach 3C to 5C by the end of this century. “These are more than just numbers,” said Elena Manaenkova, the WMO deputy secretary general. “Every fraction of a degree of warming makes a difference to human health and access to food and fresh water, to the extinction of animals and plants, to the survival of coral reefs and marine...