Greenhouse gas levels hit record high; the world is struggling to limit the damage

  • UN seeks to “dramatically increase” climate commitments
  • Summit will seek to avoid threatening levels of warming
  • Johnson from UK says COP26 outcome is ‘touch and go’
  • We must review our whole way of life – Taalas

GENEVA / GLASGOW, Oct. 25 (Reuters) – Greenhouse gas concentrations hit record highs last year and world “far off track” in limiting rising temperatures, Nations said on Monday United in a striking illustration of the task ahead of the climate talks in Glasgow.

A report by the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) showed that carbon dioxide levels reached 413.2 parts per million in 2020, increasing more than the average rate over the past decade despite a temporary decline emissions during COVID-19 lockdowns.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said the current rate of increase in heat-trapping gases would cause the temperature to rise “well above” the 2015 Paris Agreement target of 1, 5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average for this century.

“We are far from the track,” he said. “We must review our industrial, energy and transport systems and our whole way of life,” he added, calling for a “dramatic increase” in commitments at the COP26 conference which begins on Sunday.

The Scottish city of Glasgow was putting the finishing touches before hosting the climate talks, which could be the best chance in the world to limit global warming to the upper limit of 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius set in the agreement from Paris.

“This summit is going to be very, very difficult,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at a press conference with children. Read more

“I’m very worried because it might go wrong and we might not get the chords we need and it’s touch and go, it’s very, very difficult, but I think it can be done”, a- he declared.

The German government has announced that Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Glasgow to participate. read more Russian President Vladimir Poutine will not be present in person. He and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to make video appearances instead.


Smoke and steam erupt from the Belchatow Power Station, Europe’s largest coal-fired power station, near Belchatow, Poland. Photo taken November 28, 2018. REUTERS / Kacper Pempel / File Photo

Read more

The stakes for the planet are enormous – among them the very survival of low-lying countries, the impact on economic livelihoods around the world, and the future stability of the global financial system.

Alok Sharma, president of COP26, said developed countries would be three years behind in meeting their pledge to commit a total of $ 500 billion to help poorer countries tackle climate change.

Rich countries pledged in 2009 to provide $ 100 billion a year for five years, starting in 2020. But a plan on how to do it, prepared by Canada and Germany ahead of the summit, said the he annual objective would not be reached until 2023. Read more

“Of course, this has been a source of deep frustration for developing countries,” Sharma said at a televised press conference. “The goal of putting this plan in place has been to restore confidence … countries will have to do it.”

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that the world’s largest oil exporter aims to achieve “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions, mainly produced by the combustion of fossil fuels, by 2060 – 10 years more later than the United States. He also said he would double the emission reductions he plans to achieve by 2030.

A Reuters poll of economists found that reaching the Paris goal of zero carbon emissions will require investing in a green transition representing 2-3% of global production each year through 2050, far less than the economic cost of inaction.

In contrast, governments since January 2020 have spent a total of $ 10.8 trillion – or 10.2% of global production – in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A business-as-usual trajectory leading to temperature increases of 1.6 ° C, 2.4 ° C and 4.4 ° C by 2030, 2050 and 2100 respectively would result in a production loss of 2.4% by 2030, 10% by 2050 and 18% by 2100, depending on the median of survey responses.

In London, climate activists revived their campaign to block main roads by disrupting traffic in the city’s financial district, while in Madrid a few dozen people staged a sit-in protest, briefly blocking Gran Via shopping street.

“Greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate disasters all over the planet. We don’t have time. It’s already late and if we don’t join in action against what is happening, we won’t. we won’t have time to save what’s left, ”said Alberto, 27, a sociologist who took part in the protest.

Additional reporting by William James and Kylie MacLellan in London, Zuzanna Szymanska in Berlin, David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Marco Trujillo in Madrid; Written by Michael Shields, edited by William Maclean and Nick Macfie

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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