Warming can be kept just below 2 degrees Celsius if all Paris Agreement pledges are fulfilled: Study

Currently, there’s a huge gap between the rhetoric on tackling climate change and the reality on the ground. 

Published: 14th April 2022 05:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th April 2022 05:22 PM   |  A+A-

climate change finance

Activists engage in a 'Show US The Money' protest at the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow (File Photo | AP)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: As climate change poses a new threat to humans and wildlife, a new assessment published in Nature magazine shows that governments' climate pledges – if they are all implemented in full and on time – could limit global warming to just below 2 degrees C hotter than pre-industrial time.   

Any rise in global temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels could make life unbearable for millions of people and an existential threat to small island nations.  

Christophe McGlad, Head of Energy Supply Unit, International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook, and one of the authors says that long-term pledges by the countries need to be backed up by strong and credible near-term policies that can make them a reality. Currently, there’s a huge gap between the rhetoric on tackling climate change and the reality on the ground. The paper has been authored by experts from the University of Melbourne.

“Second, emissions reduction targets need to be substantially enhanced: the pledges made to date – even if they are achieved in full – don’t yet put us on track for 1.5 °C. So these results are a cause for optimism – we’ve come a long way since the Paris Agreement of 2015 – but now the real work must start. In particular, we need to focus on ways to respond to the current global energy crisis that don’t jeopardize our long-term climate goals,” he says.

The goal of the Paris agreement is to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius

According to the study, over the last five years prior to the Glasgow Climate Pact, 154 Parties have submitted new or updated 2030 mitigation goals in their nationally determined contributions and 76 have put forward longer-term pledges.

“Quantifications of the pledges before the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) suggested a less than 50 percent chance of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Here we show that warming can be kept just below 2 degrees Celsius if all conditional and unconditional pledges are implemented in full and on time,” said the study.

Peak warming could be limited to 1.9–2.0 degrees Celsius (5%–95% range 1.4–2.8 °C) in the full implementation case—building on a probabilistic characterization of Earth system uncertainties in line with the Working Group I Contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report 6 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“We retrospectively project twenty-first-century warming to show how the aggregate level of ambition changed from 2015 to 2021. Our results rely on the extrapolation of time-limited targets beyond 2030 or 2050, characteristics of the IPCC 1.5°C Special Report (SR1.5) scenario database and the full implementation of pledges. More pessimistic assumptions on these factors would lead to higher temperature projections,” said the authors in the study abstract.

A second, independent emissions modelling framework projected peak warming of 1.8 degrees Celsius, supporting the finding that realized pledges could limit warming to just below 2 degrees Celsius. Limiting warming not only to ‘just below’ but to ‘well below 2 degrees Celsius or 1.5 degrees Celsius urgently requires policies and actions to bring about steep emission reductions this decade, aligned with mid-century global net-zero CO2 emissions, it added.

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