Carbon emissions show no signs of peaking

(Scientific American, 26 Nov 2019) Without deep, fast cuts to greenhouse gases, global temperatures will shatter a 2-degree Celsius threshold a dire new U.N. report says.

Global emissions are expected to keep climbing despite promises from almost 200 nations to address climate change, propelling temperatures upward and threatening to shatter the threshold of 2 degrees Celsius that scientists say would invite dramatic changes to ecology and the economy.

The 10th Emissions Gap Report by the U.N. Environment Programme, released today, warned that there’s "no sign" greenhouse gases will hit their zenith anytime soon. It arrived a day after the World Meteorological Organization revealed record-high concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“The summary findings are bleak,” the UNEP report said. “Countries collectively failed to stop the growth in global [greenhouse gas] emissions, meaning that deeper and faster cuts are now required.”

The World Meteorological Organization, meanwhile, said average CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere rose to 407.8 parts per million in 2018, surpassing its estimate in 2017 of 405.5 ppm.

UNEP’s emissions gap survey, launched from Geneva, forecasts much higher greenhouse gas concentrations to come.

In the report, UNEP applauds heightened public pressure on governments to address climate change, yet laments that it’s not nearly enough. The world’s emissions have been increasing by about 1.5% per year for the past decade, it notes. That would lead to temperature increases of nearly 4 degrees Celsius by 2100, “bringing wide-ranging and destructive climate impacts.”

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Scientific American, 26 Nov 2019: Carbon emissions show no signs of peaking