Three stunningly dire climate change reports have emerged in the last month, including the UN “Emissions Gap” report released this week and the U.S. National Climate Assessment released last Friday. Together, they ring an alarm bell of historic proportions, and must serve as an unprecedented wake-up call to the U.S. and global leaders meeting in Poland next week for key UN climate negotiations.
Yet, even as exigent as they are, these studies still underestimate the risks of runaway, catastrophic climate change, which other reports have found. Simply put, the sum of the science finds that achieving near-term and deep emissions reductions has become manifestly urgent for the safety of nations around the world.
The United Nation’s “Emissions Gap” report out this week finds that the current emissions reduction pledges from all countries within the Paris Agreement, including the U.S., are far too weak to keep temperatures from increasing less than 2 degrees Celsius pre-industrial levels and provide even a modicum of climate protection. The report notes that the “original [global] level of ambition needs to be roughly tripled for the 2°C scenario and increased around fivefold for the 1.5°C scenario.”