Heat waves shocked meteorologists. Will you promote climate protection?


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The recent extraordinary heat waves around the world, from the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Siberia to the Middle East and Africa, have scared meteorologists. And they bring together the heads of diplomats around the world in preparation for the most important climate conference since the Paris Agreement six years ago.

At their meeting in Glasgow, Scotland in November, it is planned that all nations of the world will make a binding commitment to avoiding net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. If they achieve this goal of carbon neutrality, scientists believe, the world will avert the risk of climate catastrophe.

Why we wrote that

Terrifying heat waves around the world have made calls for action to slow global warming urgent. Will they be enough to convince governments to change their fossil fuels?

But governments are still on the wrong track, experts say, and still spend more money on supporting fossil fuels than they are on green energy projects. They put their hopes on the Glasgow conference making tough decisions.

“We are on the verge of it,” said UN Secretary General António Guterres recently. “When you stand on the edge of a precipice, you need to make sure that your next step is in the right direction.”

London

The headlines can seem to be familiar: Health facilities overloaded, emergency services frantic, human lives tragically lost – not through terror or war, but through a force of nature.

Except this time the pandemic wasn’t the culprit.

It was the latest, hottest sign of climate change, a “heat dome” that enveloped the northwestern United States and Canada, driving temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, in some areas 30 to 40 degrees above normal. Scientists have calculated that this could have been expected once in several thousand years before the age of man-made global warming.

Why we wrote that

Terrifying heat waves around the world have made calls for action to slow global warming urgent. Will they be enough to convince governments to change their fossil fuels?

And it’s also raising the political temperature as governments prepare for their most important climate change conference since the 2015 Paris Agreement, due to meet in November in Glasgow, Scotland.

Even before the heat dome, experts had lowered their hopes for the meeting in Glasgow.

Many of them used to be optimistic, driven by a pandemic-induced reduction in carbon emissions and the way China and the United States, the world’s largest carbon emitters, had announced more ambitious carbon reduction targets.

More recently, however, climate experts have begun to question whether these and other governments will actually keep their promises before the conference – and even if they do, whether those promises might not be too small or too late to keep pace with the accelerating pace of the Climate change.

The rising temperatures in the Pacific are just a reminder of the repercussions of global warming, which has also increased the frequency and intensity of other “extreme events” such as forest fires and droughts, tropical storms and hurricanes.

Glowing temperatures have been measured from Northern Europe and Central Asia to the Middle East and Africa. Siberia is experiencing an unprecedentedly hot summer for the second time in a row. Almost 10,000 miles away, in Brazil, global warming along with deforestation in the Amazon has caused the worst drought in nearly a century.

And a NASA report earlier this year emphasized that it’s not just about annual records: the last seven Years in total have been the warmest ever. The director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Gavin Schmidt, warned: “As human influence on the climate increases, we must expect that records will continue to be broken.”

It is this human influence that is now drawing attention to the Glasgow conference.


Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press / AP

Patrons line up in a splash park on a day of 96 degrees F. in Calgary, Alberta, June 30, 2021. The day before, a Canadian record was set at 121 degrees F. in British Columbia.

Its goal is for all over 150 represented countries to commit to so-called net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest – that is, all the carbon that they release into the atmosphere must be reduced through measures such as reforestation or technology and save.

That would be the world on the right track to meet the ambitious goal of Paris: hold back global warming before temperatures reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This point, according to the scientific consensus, marks the threshold above which the planet would risk a climate catastrophe.

But keeping the temperature at this level will not be easy, and there have been signs that it will be more difficult.

The most important of them is that with the pandemic easing in the richer countries of the world, their governments’ governments are not focusing on climate change. It’s about getting their economy up and running.

At the height of the pandemic, many of these countries announced plans to prioritize low-carbon investments as they revitalized their economies. A study by the economic development charity Tearfund last month confirmed that the G-7, the group of economically advanced countries, pumped a total of $ 147 billion into green energy projects between January 2020 and March 2021.

But they spent even more, $ 189 billion, to aid oil, coal and gas over the same period, the report said.

This week, the International Energy Agency added that gas demand – which fell sharply last year due to pandemic lockdowns – is recovering strongly. The IEA said demand will continue to grow, and unless governments go against the trend, it would be impossible for them to achieve the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

Politically, however, there is still reason for hope – especially in the three countries that are likely to be critical of a new world climate agreement: Great Britain, China and the USA

For UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who led efforts to get the UK out of the European Union, the Glasgow Summit is a high-profile opportunity to demonstrate international leadership. He won’t want it to fail.

China, the world’s largest emitter of CO2, has long refused to set a net zero target at all. But last September, the Chinese head of state Xi Jinping did so and obliged his country to strive for CO2 neutrality by 2060. As a further signal that China sees a role of its own in Glasgow, he accepted US President Joe Biden’s invitation to a virtual summit on climate change last April.

Mr Biden’s interest in an agreement there is particularly great. When he took office in January, he reversed the step taken by former President Donald Trump to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. And before last month’s G-7 summit, he demonstrated demonstratively that America was not just part of the Paris process again. He saw it as “back in the chair”.

Still, the pressure to deliver is growing. UN Secretary General António Guterres recently said the world is in a “make-or-break” moment on climate change.

“We still have time,” he said. “But we are close to it. When you stand on the edge of an abyss, you need to make sure that your next step is in the right direction. “

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