Pledges mean we can keep global temperature rise to 1.9C

New pledges mean we can keep global temperature rise to 1.9C, analysis shows… but UN target of 1.5C is highly unlikely to be reached

  • World’s nations may meet a 2015 Paris climate pact to keep increases below 2C 
  • A big breakthrough came when India promised to reach ‘net zero’ by 2070 
  • The more ambitious UN target of 1.5C is now highly unlikely to be reached

Pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions made at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow would hold global temperature rises to 1.9C, an analysis showed yesterday.

It is the first indication that the world’s nations could meet a pact made in 2015 at the Paris climate conference to keep increases below 2C.

A big breakthrough came when India, the world’s third biggest emitter, promised to reach ‘net zero’ by 2070, although it is asking for financial aid for developing countries from richer nations to be doubled to £730billion.

The analysis by the University of Melbourne said that if the promises were fulfilled, temperatures would be 1.9C higher than pre-industrial levels.

Pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions made at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow would hold global temperature rises to 1.9C, an analysis showed yesterday

It said the chance of success was now better than 50 per cent. But Labour business spokesman Ed Miliband warned: ‘Any progress is welcome but we need extreme caution about declaring success on the basis of vague and often vacuous net zero targets three or more decades hence.

‘For example, Australia has a 2050 net zero target but its 2030 plans are in line with four degrees of warming.’

The more ambitious UN target of keeping temperature rises down to 1.5C is now highly unlikely to be reached.

The report’s author, Malte Meinshausen, an associate professor in climate science at Melbourne and a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said what had made the difference was improvements in India and China’s emission targets for 2030, as well as India’s commitment to net zero by 2070.

The chance of keeping global warming below 2c was now better than 50 per cent, based on pledges on the table.

But the more ambitious target of the UN summit of keeping temperatures down to 1.5c – with the slogan of ‘keep 1.5c alive’ is highly unlikely to be reached without further big cuts in carbon emissions.

To stay within the 1.5c level, global emissions must fall by 45 per cent by 2030.

A big breakthrough came when India , the world’s third biggest emitter, promised to reach ‘net zero’ by 2070, although it is asking for financial aid for developing countries from richer nations to be doubled to £730billion

Professor Meinshausen said the goal of limiting heating to the 1.5C goal still remained a distance challenge, with a roughly 90per cent chance it would fail based on existing commitments.

A separate report by researchers from the Universities of Exeter, East Anglia and Stanford in the US found that global carbon pollution is set to bounce back in 2021 to almost its pre-pandemic levels, scientists have warned as the Cop26 climate talks continue.

Carbon emissions from fossil fuels fell 5.4 per cent in 2020 from a record high the previous year due to widespread Covid-19 lockdowns.

But they are expected to rise again by 4.9per cent to 36.4 billion tonnes this year, or about 0.8 per cent below 2019 levels, the annual Global Carbon Budget analysis reveals.

The figures show that at current levels of emissions, the world has only 11 years left before it has used up the whole ‘budget’ for the amount of carbon humans can pump into the atmosphere and still stay within the 1.5C limit.

And they show that the world has to cut carbon dioxide emissions by around 1.4 billion tonnes a year – compared with the 1.9 billion-tonne drop in pollution caused by the pandemic.

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