Greenhouse gas emissions on the rise by 2030, UN finds

While humanity must significantly and quickly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to avoid climate sinking, the UN rather predicts an increase in emissions by 2030, according to a new report published on Friday.

In anticipation of the next United Nations climate conference (COP26), the UN has counted the commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the countries signatory to the Paris Agreement, i.e. nationally determined contributions (NDC). A total of 113 of the 191 signatory countries have submitted updated commitments in recent months, representing 49% of global emissions

The results of these commitments, published on Friday, show that humanity is still on the path of catastrophic warming, nearly six years after the signing of the Paris Agreement. According to the UN, warming is expected to reach at least 2.7 ° C by the end of the century, while the international community has promised to limit it to 2 ° C, or even 1.5 ° C, compared to the preindustrial era.

The NDCs of all 191 parties to the Paris Agreement also point to “a considerable increase” in global GHG emissions in 2030 compared to 2010, of the order of 16%.

“The 16% increase is a huge concern. It contrasts sharply with the calls made by science for a rapid, sustained and large-scale reduction of emissions in order to prevent the most serious climatic consequences and the suffering, especially of the most vulnerable, around the world ”, a argues the executive secretary of UN Climate, in a press release.

Extreme events

A warming such as that predicted in the report published on Friday would cause an increase in extreme weather events, a decline in cultivable areas and water resources in several regions, an irreversible melting of the ice in the poles, a thawing of the permafrost that would release enormous quantities of methane, the considerable rise in ocean level, the influx of million climate refugees and the disappearance of major sections of global biodiversity.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global GHG emissions would have to fall by at least 45% by 2030, compared to their 2010 level, to hope to limit warming. at 1.5 ° C, compared to the pre-industrial era. This is already reaching 1.1 ° C, according to the most recent IPCC report, which warns that warming should reach 1.5 ° C or 1.6 ° C by 2030, or even 2040.

Although climate upheavals have not yet reached the dramatic thresholds set out in this new international scientific report, the consequences are already very real, underlined the IPCC in his report published in August. Heatwaves, heatwaves and droughts have certainly been “more frequent and intense” in most parts of the world since the 1950s, as have intense precipitation events.

Tipping points?

Humanity is also responsible for the melting of the ice in Greenland, the melting of several glaciers on the planet, and the marked decline of Arctic sea ice. The same goes for the rise in the level of the oceans and their warming. Under the influence of the melting polar ice, the level of the oceans will continue to rise for centuries, even millennia.

The level of the oceans, which has already risen 20 cm since 1900, could still rise by about 50 cm by 2100, even assuming to limit the warming to + 2 ° C. Such a scenario represents a direct threat to coastal regions such as eastern Quebec.

For the first time, the IPCC also underlined in its report “not being able to exclude” the occurrence of “Tipping points”, such as the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet or the death of forests, which would drag the climate system towards a dramatic and irremediable change. Signs of these tipping points are already visible in the Amazon, the largest tropical forest on the planet.

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