Year of climate woes ‘just the beginning’ amid failure to cut emissions, experts say

Paris, France (AFP) – Devastating floods, crop-destroying droughts and record heat waves this year have shown climate change warnings are fast becoming a reality and experts say it is “just the beginning”. As are international efforts to reduce global warming. Emission Founder.

The year saw some significant climate progress, with major new legislation, especially in the United States and Europe, as well as a move to help vulnerable countries deal with the growing onslaught of devastating climate impacts at the UN climate talks. Agreement reached.

But the goal of keeping warming within a safe limit of 1.5°C since the pre-industrial era appears increasingly under threat, with carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels – the main driver of global warming – at an all-time high in history. is on its way to reach. 2022.

UN chief Antonio Guterres warned world leaders at a climate summit in Egypt in November that humanity faces a stark choice between working together in the fight against global warming or “mass suicide”. .

Observers say he opted to make the most important decisions for a second time.

This year UN climate science experts issued their strongest warning yet about the dangers facing people and the planet, in February with a landmark report on climate impacts dubbed the “Atlas of Human Suffering”.

A family sits under a tent next to their collapsed house surrounded by floodwaters in Sohbatpur, a district in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, on August 29, 2022. (Zahid Hussain/AP)

Since then a series of extreme events have illustrated the growing dangers of climate change at barely 1.2°C of warming.

Record heat waves have damaged crops from China to Europe, while drought has driven millions to starvation in the Horn of Africa.

Floods caused by climate change hit Pakistan, affecting 33 million people and causing about $30 billion in damage and economic losses.

“The year 2022 will be one of the warmest years on Earth, with higher temperatures,” said Robert Voutard, chief climate scientist at France’s Pierre-Simon Laplace Institute.

“Unfortunately, this is just the beginning.”

This year is on track to be the fifth or sixth warmest ever recorded since 2020 of La Nina – a periodic and naturally occurring phenomenon in the Pacific that cools the atmosphere.

When this phenomenon reverses, potentially within months, the world will soar to a “new level” in warming, Woutard said.

still polluting

Economy-plaguing climate extremes, which triggered a spike in energy prices for many countries as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, provided the backdrop for high-level UN climate talks in Egypt last month.

The talks made history, with wealthy polluters agreeing on a fund to blame poorer countries for paying for climate damage.

FILE – A sign reading “fossil fuels out” is displayed during a demonstration at the COP27 United Nations climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, November 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter DeJong, File)

Pakistani Climate Minister Sherry Rehman called the move “a down payment on a long investment in our joint futures”.

But vulnerable nations and campaigners said the Egypt conference failed to deliver the emissions cuts needed to prevent future climate damage and loss.

Harjeet Singh of the Climate Action Network said, “COP27 tackled the consequences of climate change, but not the cause – fossil fuels.”

To maintain the 1.5°C limit, planet-heating emissions need to be reduced by 45 percent by 2030 and cut to net zero by the middle of the century.

At the 2021 UN talks in Glasgow, nations were urged to meet their emissions reduction commitments.

But only about 30 countries have heeded that call, with the world on track to warm by about 2.5 degrees Celsius.

’emergency room’

Guterres denounced the failure of climate talks to address drastic emissions cuts, saying: “Our planet is still in the emergency room.”

They also urged nations to urgently address the other main existential crisis facing humanity and the planet – loss of biodiversity – which is the subject of a crunch meeting in Montreal from 7 to 19 December.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, center right, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, center left, after a group photo at the COP27 UN climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, November 7, 2022. (AP) Photo/Nariman al-Mofti)

Nature has been severely damaged by human activity and the UN talks have been tasked with outlining a roadmap to protect the land and ocean ecosystems that provide life support to Earth.

A series of potentially important climate milestones will stretch over the next year.

These will include the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, following Egypt’s formal request from the climate talks to “look at the international financial system and review the role of international financial institutions”, said Lawrence Tubiana, who leads the European Union. We do. Climate Foundation.

The next UN climate meeting in November 2023 – held in the fossil fuel exporter UAE – will see the publication of a “global stocktake” of progress on the 2015 Paris Agreement goal to limit warming to well below 2°C, and preferably 1.5 . degree Celsius.

Tubiana, a key architect of the Paris deal, said the talks in Dubai are likely to discuss the oil and gas industry and its financial contribution.

She predicted that the issue was likely to cause “great tension”.

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