UN calls for radical changes to slow warming - BBC News

UN calls for radical changes to slow warming – BBC News

  • Author: Matt McGrath
  • Environmental Correspondent

image source, Getty Images

The fight against climate change requires a rapid transformation in the way our world works, travels, eats and uses energy, according to a major UN report.

It is the first “global inventory” to examine countries’ efforts to reduce planet-warming emissions since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Although progress has been made, much more effort is now needed.

The report calls for “radical decarbonisation” with the rapid phase-out of fossil fuels without carbon sequestration.

Burning fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal to produce electricity releases carbon dioxide, which is the main driver of climate change. Carbon capture in industrial processes and power plants stops the release of most of the CO2 produced and either reuses it or stores it underground.

Renewable energy also needs significant expansion, with deforestation to be halted and reversed by 2030.

The assessment report will be considered by political leaders and will be central to global climate talks in Dubai later this year.

Over the past two years, the UN has decided to review pledges made by countries that signed the Paris Agreement in 2015. At a meeting eight years ago, countries agreed to keep the rate of warming since the industrial revolution well below 2C and aim to keep it below 1.5C.

The report examines their efforts to reduce carbon emissions, adapt to climate change and how they have mobilized finance and technology to help poorer countries tackle the problem.

No country is named and shamed in this report, which considers a collective approach to solving the problem.

The document acknowledges that much progress has been made, but the global temperature increase predicted for this century is still significantly higher than what was promised in Paris.

Meeting these targets will now require a significant increase in ambition, according to the assessment, which calls for a large-scale “system transformation”.

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Droughts have hit many parts of the world as temperatures have risen

This means that every aspect of our society must change to manage rising temperatures.

This includes the way we generate energy, the way we travel, work and produce food. Experts say this type of change requires governments to take the initiative to ensure that their climate action is not immediately nullified by other policies and investments.

“The call for systemic transformations could also be seen as a recognition that we should take our destiny into our own hands while we still can,” said Dr Richard Klein of the Stockholm Environment Institute, who was involved in the early stages of the project. inventory.

“Either we transform society to avoid the worst of climate change, or climate change transforms society for us in ways that are hard to predict but probably won’t be very pleasant.”

The report clearly calls for the rapid expansion of renewable energy sources, including wind and solar power, but also says that fossil fuels that do not capture the carbon they produce have no future. The inventory says these are “essential elements” of a just transition to net zero by the middle of this century.

Electric vehicles “offer the greatest mitigation potential” in the transport sector, the report says, which also highlights the fact that switching to healthy, climate-friendly diets, reducing food waste and promoting sustainable agriculture can make a significant difference in reducing emissions.

The assessment also examines climate change adaptation efforts and financing, a constant source of ire for developing countries. It requires rapid raising of funds from a wide range of sources.

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Torrential rain damaged bridges in Spain

The idea behind the inventory is to ensure that the next set of carbon reduction plans that governments register with the UN in 2025 are more ambitious than the current ones.

But the report will also inform discussions at the COP28 global climate talks, which will be held in Dubai later this year.

Efforts at COP27 to agree a phase-out of all undiminished fossil fuels failed due to opposition from several major oil-producing countries.

UN officials believe the assessment report will increase pressure for a major announcement at COP28.

“I urge governments to carefully study the report’s findings and ultimately understand what it means for them and what ambitious steps they need to take next,” said Simon Stiell, UN Executive Secretary for Climate Change.

Observers agree that the documentary is a wake-up call.

“We already know the world is not meeting its climate goals, but leaders now have a concrete plan, backed by a wealth of evidence, to do so,” said Ani Dasgupta of the World Resources Institute.

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