Paris: The “Three Positive Climate Developments” point to potential advancements in the years to come. Humanity has made some progress, but more is needed to lower greenhouse gas emissions and keep the planet from warming to catastrophic levels. Even if the environment is still headed toward catastrophe, things have improved since the 2015 Paris Agreement. The global temperature rise would be limited to “well below” 2°C over pre-industrial levels, ideally to a safer 1.5°C.
The three favorable developments in the climate are as follows:
According to predictions made by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the global temperature will rise by 3.5°C by the year 2100 when compared to pre-industrial times. At that time, the world’s reliance on fossil fuels—coal, gas, and oil—led to the endorsement of the Paris Agreement.
Globally, catastrophic climate calamities include
- Melting of glaciers
- Risk of mass extinctions
- Unliveable conditions across the planet
- Permafrost (that could eventually unleash meters of sea level rise)
This month, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) predicted that by the end of the century, global temperatures would have reached a still horrifying 2.5C to 2.9C. Eight years later, the nation’s commitments to reduce its carbon footprints have somewhat offset that—the effects of warming compound on the climate increase with every tenth of a degree.
UN statistics show that since COP21, annual emissions of greenhouse gases that fuel climate change have climbed by about 9%. This week, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) declared that record-breaking levels of CO2, methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) will be present in the atmosphere in 2022 as a result of this increase. The rate of growth has, however, noticeably slowed down.
Climate specialists from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) state that to fulfill the Paris Agreement, emissions must peak by 2025. Emissions must be almost halved by 2030 in order to limit global warming to 1.5C. According to new predictions from the Climate Analytics Institute, global emissions may peak as early as this year or by 2024.
The energy sector is responsible for about 80% of the carbon dioxide emissions caused by human activity. In its assessment before the Paris Agreement, the IEA predicted that emissions might reach 43 gigatonnes (Gt) by 2030. But the agency now estimates that number will reach 35 by 2030 based on current efforts.
Three technologies have been largely responsible for the improved projections of global warming since 2015:
- Electric Vehicles
By 2030, photovoltaics (PVs) and wind power are expected to account for about 15% of global electricity production, which is seven times more than the IEA’s 2015 projection for PV and wind power combined. At the time, electric car fleets were thought to be unachievable.
The IEA attributes the achievement that was unthinkable before to the accord to the Paris Accord, declining costs, and public policy initiatives from China, the US, and Europe. China’s five-year goals have raised hopes for solar power and lowered costs worldwide. Furthermore, using renewable energy is providing a special ray of optimism.
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