Countries must triple climate emission cut targets to limit global heating to 2C

(The Guardian, 23 Sep 2019) United in Science report ahead of UN summit says climate is changing faster than forecast, and current plans would lead to ‘catastrophic’ global temperature rise.

An assessment backed by the world’s major climate science bodies has found commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions must be at least tripled and increased by up to fivefold if the world is to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

The report, launched as leaders gather at a UN climate action summit in New York on Monday, says current plans would lead to a rise in average global temperatures of between 2.9C and 3.4C by 2100, a shift likely to bring catastrophic change across the globe.

Coordinated by the World Meteorological Organisation, the United in Science report says it is still possible to reduce the gap and keep global heating to a safe level, but it would require an urgent shift in commitments and action.

The five years between 2015 and 2019 are on track to be on average 1.1C hotter than pre-industrial times and the warmest of any equivalent period on record.

The report says many of the changes linked to the temperature rise, including long-lasting heatwaves, record-breaking wildfires, declining sea ice and glaciers, cyclones, floods and drought, have hit sooner and harder than predicted a decade ago.

Speaking ahead of the summit, UN secretary general António Guterres said the world was fraying and needed international cooperation more than ever.

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The Guardian, 23 Sep 2019: Countries must triple climate emission cut targets to limit global heating to 2C