The Climate Report Card says countries are trying, but progress is urgently needed

Eight years after world leaders approved a landmark agreement in Paris to combat climate change, countries have made only limited progress in preventing the most dangerous effects of global warming. First official report card In the Global Climate Agreement.

Many of the worst climate change scenarios that were so feared in the early 2010s are far less likely today, the report said. The authors give some credit to the 2015 Paris Agreement, under which, for the first time, nearly every country agreed to submit a voluntary plan to limit its own global-warming emissions. Since then, the increase in global greenhouse gases has slowed significantly.

Yet those efforts are still insufficient to avert disaster, according to the report, written by representatives from the United States and South Africa and based on contributions from hundreds of governments, scientists and civil society groups around the world.

Under the Paris Agreement, countries pledged to limit the rise in average global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels. Beyond that level, the risks of extreme floods, wildfires, droughts, heat waves and species extinction will become unmanageable, scientists say. The Earth has already warmed about 1.2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times.

Countries are far from achieving those goals. Current climate commitments put the world on track for a significantly more dangerous 2.5°C or so of warming by 2100. To keep global warming at a safe level, global emissions must fall by approximately 60 percent by 2035, which will require a very rapid expansion of energy sources such as wind, solar or nuclear, and a sharp decrease in fossil fuel pollution. Like oil, coal and natural gas.

The window for keeping warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is “narrowing rapidly,” the report said.

It is part of what is called a new report Global reserve. When countries ratified the Paris Agreement, they agreed to meet every five years starting in 2023 to officially assess how the fight against climate change is going and see if they should step up their efforts.

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The report, nearly two years in the making, will serve as the foundation for the next round of United Nations climate talks, known as COP28, which begins in late November in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. There, countries will discuss how to respond to the global stockpile and what more can be done.

“Governments should carefully analyze the report’s findings to understand what it ultimately means for them and what ambitious action they need to take next,” said United Nations climate chief Simon Steele. “The global stockpile is a critical moment for greater ambition and faster action.”

Underscoring one of the prickly dynamics in global climate talks, the report avoids singling out any individual countries for success or failure. Everyone agrees that the world needs to cut emissions quickly, but countries disagree sharply over who should do more. Developing countries like India say rich emitters like the US and Europe need to cut their fossil fuel consumption much faster. US officials, in turn, often point out that China has become the world’s largest emitter by far, and that more needs to be done.

The man overseeing this year’s talks, Sultan al-Jaber, heads both the emirate’s largest renewable energy company and its national oil company, a dual role that has drawn criticism from many environmentalists who say he is unlikely to be impartial. Mediator.

Mr. Al-Jaber said countries want to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030. He also wants countries to agree for the first time on a long-term goal of phasing out “unstoppable” fossil fuels. If companies could capture and bury the emissions those fuels produce, that would allow the phrase to continue using oil, coal or gas — a technology that has struggled to gain traction due to high costs.

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A new global stocktake report says those measures and more are “urgently” needed.

“The polite prose of the United Nations illustrates what is a truly dismal report card for global climate efforts,” said Ani Dasgupta, president of the World Resources Institute. “Carbon emissions? Still climbing. Fiscal responsibilities of rich countries? Innocent. Adaptation support? Far behind.

A perennial position in global climate talks is that developing countries cannot quickly transition away from fossil fuels and adapt to extreme heat waves and storms without outside help.

Under the Paris Agreement, wealthy emitters such as the United States and Europe pledged to provide $100 billion a year from public and private sources by 2020 for this purpose. But they still haven’t fulfilled that promise. In 2020, industrialized countries committed $83.3 billion in climate finance. Only a small fraction of that money goes to adaptation, such as building sea walls or helping farmers cope with drought, often the most pressing need.

The report notes that developing countries will ultimately need trillions of dollars to prepare for climate change and calls for broader systemic reforms, such as reforming lending practices at multilateral banks or helping countries with large debt burdens.

“There has been a lot of focus on accountability for the $100 billion pledge by developed countries, which is absolutely critical,” said Charlene Watson, senior research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute. “But the truth is, we’re going to need a lot more.”

Countries have made some progress in adapting to climate threats, for example by building flood barriers or establishing early warning systems for tropical cyclones. But those efforts are often “incremental” and unevenly distributed, the report warned. Preparing for future threats such as depletion of freshwater supplies or irreversible environmental damage will require “transformational” changes in climate adaptation.

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As a constraint, the report noted, many adaptation efforts are “failing to keep pace with increasing climate impacts and risks.”

“Tracking progress in adaptation is more difficult than tracking progress in financing,” said Richard Klein of the Stockholm Environment Institute. Climate talks.

Some experts have accused the report of being too vague in many of its recommendations. “The opportunity to make clear proposals about which countries can implement concretely, how much financial support should be provided and what should be spent,” said Niklas Höhne, a founding partner of the Nuclimat Institute and a German climate scientist, said. “On these issues, the report is often on the surface.”

The big question now is how countries will respond to the global stake.

“We’ve had many reports over the years about the lack of progress, but what’s different about this is that it’s not a group of scientists or a UN agency saying this,” said Rachel Kite, a senior climate diplomat and director. Former Dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University. “It’s something all countries say.”

“It’s like sitting down with your doctor and agreeing that your liver is going to be fine, and you really should be in good shape,” Ms Kite added. “Now are you going to get off the couch and do something about it, or are you going to sit there and ignore it?”

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