Encouraged by a wave of climate activism, leaders are expected to come up with new and more ambitious plans to reduce emissions in the next decade.
Under the landmark Paris Agreement, the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland will be the first real test of their determination to fulfill their commitments.
The coronavirus pandemic has derailed these plans and provided some governments with new excuses for pause. But Covid-19 did not stop climate change.
The pandemic also shows the world that dramatic changes that were previously unimaginable are possible.
Despite the drastic changes in the world, some of the world’s largest polluters have indeed raised their long-term climate goals, bringing the world an alarming distance from the Paris Agreement’s goal: reducing emissions and limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.
Experts are cautiously optimistic.
Mike Davis, CEO of Global Witness, a human rights, climate and environment non-governmental organization, said: “People now realize that as long as they focus on the world̵
By 2020, the effects of climate change will become more difficult to ignore than ever.
However, global warming is only one aspect of the climate crisis.
WMO Secretary-General Petri Talas said: “Droughts, floods, rising sea levels, stronger tropical storms, hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones, and melting glaciers have already felt the main effects of climate change.”
According to data from the Geneva Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), in the first six months of this year, nearly 10 million people were forced to leave their homes due to disasters caused or exacerbated by climate change. For some people, this move is temporary, but many are facing long-term displacement.
India, Bangladesh and the Philippines are the three most affected countries, with a total of more than 6 million displacements between them.
Due to the geographic location of developing countries and the lack of financial and technological opportunities to help mitigate this impact, developing countries are often disproportionately hit by the impact of climate change.
But 2020 shows that no country is immune to such destruction. Due to fires, storms and floods, hundreds of thousands of people from some of the richest countries in the world were forced to leave their homes, losing their livelihoods and sometimes even their lives. In the first six months of this year alone, an estimated 53,000 people have been displaced in the United States and another 51,000 have been displaced in Australia.
According to IDMC’s Alexandra Bilak, no matter what disaster happens, the poorest people still suffer the most.
“Even in high-income countries (such as California), there are some people who are not insured and lose everything. They are the people we pay special attention to, because they will eventually fall into a very vulnerable situation and their vulnerability will increase. .”
The light of hope
In 2020, the impact of climate change will be catastrophic, but if global warming continues to follow current trends, the consequences may be even more severe.
WMO stated that by 2024, there is at least a one-fifth chance that the global average temperature will temporarily exceed the pre-industrial level by 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is the key threshold of the Paris Agreement.
According to the agreement, most countries in the world agreed to limit the temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius-and keep it at 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“We are already at 1.2 degrees warming and IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] He said: “For humans and the biosphere, the 1.5 degree target is more favorable.”
“By setting the target at 2 degrees, we will see more negative effects from climate change, which will damage global food production capacity, and there will be many coastal cities suffering from sea level rise, and we will see more level 4 And Category 5 hurricanes”, typhoons and cyclones. “
According to the IPCC report, by 2030, global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 45% from 2010 levels. If it is possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, 25% of them will keep it below 2 degrees Celsius. .
Taras said the good news is that we have the technical and economic means to achieve these goals. bad news? Most countries have yet to adopt specific plans to achieve this goal.
In order to reach the climate goal, annual emissions must fall by at least the same amount-about 7.6% over the next ten years.There Yes This may happen.
Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analysis, told CNN: “Until recently, I guess everyone was frustrated with the way climate change policies and actions are developed.”
Hare said that due to the epidemic, actions have slowed down, which is understandable: “The political momentum seems to be fading, but in the past six or eight weeks, especially since September, when Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China is moving towards Since net zero emissions before 2060, the whole mood has changed.”
South Africa, Japan, South Korea and Canada all announced new 2050 net zero emissions targets under the commitments of China, the European Union and the United Kingdom.
According to the analysis of “Climate Action Tracking”, these new commitments put the world at an alarming distance from the goals of the Paris Agreement. The tracker is a partnership between the New Climate Research Institute and the Climate Analysis Company, and it says that the current plan will translate to 2.1 degrees of warming in 2100.
But this is the new promise-promise to achieve the goal within thirty years, by which time most of the current government will disappear for a long time.
Hare said: “The acid test is whether countries will actually take action in the near term in 2030.”
The goals for 2050 and 2060 are a step in the right direction and should not be underestimated, but what really matters is what the government is doing now. The next decade will be a real moment of success or failure.