There has been no shortage of depressing statistics detailing the future that awaits mankind if substantial measures are not taken against the climate crisis. A new report from the UN’s World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) issued earlier this week revealed that the concentration of greenhouse gases reached a record high in 2018.
This harrowing statistic indicates that efforts to reduce carbon dioxide, and other harmful gases, from the atmosphere have had little to no effect. Endeavours to fight the climate crisis must be reinforced and the world needs ‘rapid and transformational action’, the report warns.
“There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere despite all the commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a press release. “We need to translate the commitments into action and increase the level of ambition for the sake of the future welfare of the mankind.”
A complimentary report released shortly after from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reiterated that if we want to achieve the commitments made under the Paris Agreement, greenhouse gases must drop by 7.6% every year from now until 2030.
However, the 2019 Emissions Gap report states that it will require extensive and far-reaching changes, and it needs to happen now if we hope to reduce global warming to 1.5°C degrees. At the current rate, temperatures are expected to rise by 3.2°C by 2100. If that were to happen, the consequences would be catastrophic.
G20 Contribute the Most
Unsurprisingly, G20 nations are responsible for around 78% of global emissions. Disappointingly, these are the nations best prepared to deal with the crisis and yet, measures introduced to combat climate change have not been as transformative as needed. Out of the 20 nations, only five have announced a date to reach net-zero emissions – out of these five only two have implemented them into legislation.
While China is the largest emissions producer, the United States leads the pack when it comes to per-capita emissions. At present, the country is at least 15% above the carbon emission targets outlined in the Paris Agreement. As one of the world’s worst emitters, the level of responsibility should reflect the role the country has played, however instead of escalating efforts the US is now the only nation withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.
So, how many more UN reports will it take for countries to begin taking the climate crisis as seriously as it requires? The time for action is not only here, but it’s passing us by. The structural changes needed to combat the worst of climate change need to be implemented before it’s too late – and experts say that margin is continuing to grow closer every day.
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