Drastic action is required to avoid dramatic climate change over the next century, an annual UN report says — action that the world’s biggest polluters continue not to take.
According to the United Nations’ annual “emissions gap” report, which was released Tuesday, the globe is on track to warm by as much as 3.9 degrees Celsius (7 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels by 2100.
That’s well over the 1.5-2 degree Celsius (2.7-3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) ceiling that was set as the agreed-upon goal in the Paris climate accord.
Severe reductions are needed in carbon emissions worldwide, the report found.
In order to meet the Paris accord’s 1.5 degree Celsius goal, global emissions would have to drop 7.6% annually from 2020 to 2030, the report found, a dramatic departure from the 1.5 rise annually that’s occurred, on average, over the past decade.
“[Greenhouse gas] emissions have grown every year since the global financial crisis in 2009, with only slightly lower growth in 2015 due to big declines in coal use in both the United States of America and China,” the report observed.
To meet the 2 degree Celsius goal, emissions would have to drop 2.7% annually for the next decade, the report found.
After declining for years, U.S. emissions spiked in 2018. President Donald Trump, who’s said climate change is a “hoax” and employs climate science deniers throughout his administration, wasted no time in withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, which requires countries to wait three years after joining before backing out.
That three-year mark came earlier this month. After formally notifying the United Nations of the United States’ intent to withdraw from the agreement — there is a one-year waiting period for the withdrawal to take effect — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration “will continue to work with our global partners to enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change and prepare for and respond to natural disasters.”