Climate change may become nearly impossible to solve if not addressed soon, warns leaked UN report
High emissions need to be slowed by 2030
The report’s findings are bleak. Despite a shift toward cleaner and more efficient energy in wealthier countries, those emissions are being outmatched by the growth of fossil fuels worldwide, reports the Times. In some cases, countries have partly been able to reduce their own use of fossil fuels because of an increased reliance on foreign commerce, effectively letting them outsource dirty energy as related jobs and production facilities move overseas. The report also finds, unsurprisingly, that the Kyoto Protocol has not been as successful as its drafters hoped, in part due to major countries such as the the US failing to ratify it.
According to the Times, the report finds that stopping climate change over the coming decade will still mean major economic and ecological damage — but it’s far tamer than what could come down the road. The current goal is to limit global temperature increases to no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels. The hope is that by beginning now, economic and ecological effects will come on gradually, mitigating their impact.
Greenhouse gases may need to be sucked from the air
But that goal will reportedly become incredibly difficult to meet if high emissions growth isn’t stymied by 2030. At that point, the Times reports that we’d be given the seemingly impossible task of sucking greenhouse gases out of the air and storing them underground. Some technology is already being developed to do this, but it’s likely far more practical and far less expensive to just reduce
emissions before that becomes necessary.
This report is the third in a series of UN climate change reviews. The first was released in September and found that humans are almost certainly to blame for climate change. The second is to be published in March, with a leaked draft showing that it that will find climate change to be a serious threat to the world’s food supply over the coming decades. This third report will likely be the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s final one on the matter for another six years. The panel’s findings have become increasingly dire, and it’s clear that governments will have to act soon if they want to prevent its next report from having an even bleaker outlook.
Source: The Verge