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Climate inaction ‘red alert’ for planet

Fossil CO2 emission cuts will need to increase ten fold worldwide to prevent a climate emergency, according to a new report released today.

The results from the study, undertaken by teams from the University of East Anglia (UEA), Stanford University and the Global Carbon Project, show that since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015 emission cuts are falling far short of the necessary levels. In examining 64 countries the researchers found that between 2016 and 2019 the drops in emissions were just 10% of the 1-2 billion tonnes of CO2 cuts needed every year to meet the Paris targets.

“Countries’ efforts to cut CO2 emissions since the Paris Agreement are starting to pay off, but actions are not large-scale enough yet and emissions are still increasing in way too many countries,” said Prof Corinne Le Quéré, Royal Society Professor at UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences, led the analysis. “The drop in CO2 emissions from responses to COVID-19 highlights the scale of actions and of international adherence needed to tackle climate change. Now we need large-scale actions that are good for human health and good for the planet.”

Large-scale actions which the researchers say must include an ‘urgent transition to clean energy’. With the study arguing this is vital to keep global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

“It is in everyone’s best interests to build back better to speed the urgent transition to clean energy,” added Professor Le Quéré.

The need for which he said should be ‘underscored by the rapid unfolding of extreme climate impacts worldwide’.

To speed up the transition the researchers want to see post COVID-19 investments directed at large scale clean energy deployment and away from fossil fuels.

“Countries need to align post-COVID incentives with climate targets this decade, based on sound science and credible implementation plans,” added Professor Rob Jackson of Stanford University, who co-authored the study: Fossil CO2 emissions in the post-COVID era.

Planet on ‘red alert’

Another report, released last week by the UNFCCC, revealed nations are nowhere near to meeting the Paris goals. That efforts on Nationally Determined Contributions, the climate actions each country is planning to support the Paris targets, are simply not ambitious enough. A situation which UN Secretary-General António Guterres says is now a ‘red alert’ for the planet.

“The science is clear, to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, we must cut global emission by 45% by 2030, from 2010 levels,” he said.

Ahead of the this year’s critical COP26 climate summit in Glasgow the reports show that while many countries are making big ticket commitments to reach net zero emissions within decades, actions aren’t yet matching the rhetoric.

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Written By

Susan is the co-founder of Innovators Magazine and a consultant for OnePoint5Media. Susan is also a member of the UNFCCC-led Resilience Frontiers Nexus group and the Chair of the APOPO Foundation UK board.

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