23:51 GMT +306 December 2019
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    ‘Science is Screaming’: UN Climate Report Warns of 3.2-Degree Temp Spike by Century’s End

    © AFP 2019 / Torsten Blackwood
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    A new United Nations report released Tuesday has warned that global temperatures could rise by as much as 3.2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, even if all commitments under the 2015 Paris Accord are met.

    The report by the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) also reveals that greenhouse gas emissions must fall by around 7.6% annually on average until 2030 to prevent global temperatures from spiking by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius by that year.

    "It is evident that incremental changes will not be enough and there is a need for rapid and transformational action," the report warns. "By necessity, this will see profound change in how energy, food and other material-intensive services are demanded and provided by governments, businesses and markets."

    The report also notes that G20 nations are responsible for 78% of all greenhouse gas emissions. However, several G20 countries, including Canada, Indonesia, South Korea, South Africa and the US, are projected to miss the emission reduction targets they had set for 2020.

    The US in November also officially notified the UN it was exiting the Paris climate agreement. The Trump administration first announced that it was planning on withdrawing from the climate change pact in 2017, claiming that the deal undermines America’s economy and job growth and would result in declines in coal mining and other industries related to natural resources.

    Inger Andersen, UNEP’s executive director, warned in a statement Tuesday that countries cannot wait until the end of 2020 to take action against climate change.

    “They – and every city, region, business and individual – need to act now,” he said, also calling for “major transformation of economies and societies.”

    "We need to catch up on the years in which we procrastinated," Andersen said. "If we don't do this, the 1.5-degree C goal will be out of reach before 2030."

    May Boeve, chief executive of environmental organization 350.org, commented on the report Tuesday, stating that “the science is screaming."

    "To world leaders we say: it is time to stop the expansion of the fossil fuel industry immediately," Boeve said in a statement. "Not a single new mine can be dug, not another pipeline built, not one more well dropped into the ocean. And we have to get to work immediately transitioning to sustainable renewable energy powered energy systems.”

    The UN report comes just one day after the World Meteorological Organization said that “globally averaged concentrations of carbon dioxide reached 407.8 parts per million in 2018, up from 405.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2017,” the highest mark yet recorded. The increase in average carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere suggests that the Earth is warming at a rapid rate.

    Furthermore, the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, released in October by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, revealed that the oceans are getting warmer and more acidic due to increased absorption of carbon dioxide, and their concentration of oxygen is lowering.


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