Sunday, December 02, 2018

It's Not Just America:  Climate Policies Are Stumbling Worldwide

According to the UN, most major polluters are not on track to meet their Paris goals. But critics say that accounting may be too pessimistic.

A protester burns a barricade during "yellow vest" riots this month against a gas-tax hike in France. (Credit: Benoit Tessier / Reuters) Click to Enlarge.
Humanity is losing ground in its battle against climate change.

On Tuesday, a new UN report warned that the world is farther than it was last year from meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.  More than half of the planet’s richest countries—including Canada, Australia, South Korea, the United States, and the nations of the European Union—are not cutting their carbon pollution as fast as they promised under that treaty, it says. 

If humanity does not change course, then Earth could warm by roughly 6 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, the report suggests.  This is enough warming to set off some of the most feared consequences of climate change, including deadly heat waves, ravaging wildfires, widespread plant and animal extinctions, and potentially many feet of runaway sea-level rise.

“The gap between where we are and where we need to be is much bigger than it was last year,” says Philip Drost, an officer at UN Environment who helped write the report.  “We have new evidence that countries are not doing enough.”

Joseph Curtin, a senior fellow at the Institute of International and European Affairs who was not involved with the UN report, affirmed its overall message.  “It’s no surprise whatsoever that the picture has worsened since last year,” he told me in an email.  Meeting the Paris goals “requires dramatic global reductions in emissions, but as the report notes, emissions have not declined.”

Read more at It's Not Just America:  Climate Policies Are Stumbling Worldwide

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