Sci­en­tists warn of ‘un­told suf­fer­ing’

The Korea Times - - WORLD -

Paris (AFP) — More than 11,000 sci­en­tists warned Tues­day of “un­told suf­fer­ing” due to global warm­ing, even as an­other team said Paris car­bon-cut­ting pledges are “too little, too late.”

The Euro­pean Union, mean­while, con­firmed that last month was the warm­est Oc­to­ber ever reg­is­tered, fast on heels of a record Septem­ber and the hottest month ever in July.

Three-quar­ters of na­tional com­mit­ments un­der the Paris cli­mate ac­cord to curb green­house gases will not even slow the ac­cel­er­at­ing pace of global warm­ing, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from five se­nior sci­en­tists.

The sober­ing assess­ment came a day af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump for­mally no­ti­fied the United Na­tions of the U.S. with­drawal from the 2015 Paris cli­mate pact, trig­ger­ing con­cerns of how other na­tions might re­act.

“With few ex­cep­tions, the pledges of rich, mid­dle-in­come and poor na­tions are in­suf­fi­cient to ad­dress cli­mate change,” said Robert Wat­son, who chaired both the U.N. In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change (IPCC) and the U.N.’s sci­ence body for bio­di­ver­sity.

“As they stand, the pledges are far too little, too late.”

In par­al­lel, more than 11,000 sci­en­tists sounded a five-bell alarm in the peer-re­viewed jour­nal Bio­Science, not­ing that the world had failed to act on global warm­ing de­spite the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of ev­i­dence over 30 years.

“We de­clare, clearly and un­equiv­o­cally, that planet Earth is fac­ing a cli­mate emer­gency,” the state­ment said.

Emis­sions of the gases warm­ing Earth’s sur­face must drop 50 per­cent by 2030 and to “net zero” — with no ad­di­tional car­bon en­ter­ing the at­mos­phere by mid-cen­tury — if the Paris treaty’s goal of cap­ping warm­ing at 1.5 to 2.0 de­grees Cel­sius is to be met, the

IPCC con­cluded last year.

And yet 2018 saw un­prece­dented global car­bon pol­lu­tion of more than 41 bil­lion tonnes, two per­cent higher that 2017, also a record year.

Global tem­per­a­tures have in­creased 1 C above pre-in­dus­trial lev­els — enough to boost the im­pact of deadly heat­waves, floods and su­per­storms — and are on track to rise an­other two or three de­grees by the end of the cen­tury.

“Fail­ing to re­duce emis­sions dras­ti­cally and rapidly will re­sult in an environmen­tal and eco­nomic dis­as­ter,” said James McCarty, a pro­fes­sor of oceanog­ra­phy at Har­vard Univer­sity, and co-au­thor of the anal­y­sis of vol­un­tary Paris pledges to re­duce car­bon pol­lu­tion.

Just over half of green­house gas emis­sions from power, in­dus­try, agri­cul­ture and de­for­esta­tion — the main drivers of global warm­ing — came from four na­tions last year: China, the United States, In­dia and Rus­sia.

Ac­count­ing for 13.1 per­cent of the to­tal, the U.S. has turned its back on the Paris deal.

“China and In­dia could say ‘damn it, we’re go­ing to demon­strate to the world that we are cli­mate lead­ers’“Wat­son told AFP.

“Or they could say ‘if the U.S. is not go­ing to do it, we’re not go­ing to ei­ther’ ‘It could go ei­ther way.”

China has said it will lower car­bon in­ten­sity and peak emis­sions by about 2030.

But the size and stag­ger­ing growth of its econ­omy will likely over­whelm such mar­ginal im­prove­ments, the sci­en­tists said.

At 29 per­cent of the global to­tal, China alone pumps out more CO2 than the next three na­tions com­bined, though about 13 per­cent of those emis­sions are gen­er­ated by ex­ports des­tined for rich na­tions, re­cent re­search has shown.

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