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Emissions Gap Report 2020: Where we are & where we should be to avoid catastrophe


Highlights

  • The United Nations Environment Programme has released their Emissions Gap Report for 2020, highlighting where greenhouse gas predictions for 2030 are and how the world can avoid climate disaster
  • Currently, the world is headed for temperature rise in excess of 3°C this century and 2020 has likely to be the warmest year on record
  • Around 126 countries covering 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions had adopted, announced or were considering net-zero goals at the time this report was written, signifying that various countries are attempting to do their part to reduce emissions
  • Governments must go greener in the next stage of COVID-19 fiscal interventions to kick-start faster action on climate change

Scientists are increasingly warning that to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, the world’s governments must implement policies for massive greenhouse gas emissions reductions and begin a drawdown of carbon from the atmosphere within ten years. With 9 of 15 global tipping points now active, what we do today can either unleash an inhospitable hothouse Earth or secure a safe climate well into the future. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read the Full Report: https://www.unep.org/interactive/emissions-gap-report/2020/

‘We essentially cook ourselves’ if we don’t fix air conditioning, major UN report warns

by Dharna Noor, Gizmodo


Highlights

  • A new report from the United Nations shows that 460 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions could be avoided worldwide by switching to energy-efficient, climate-safe air conditioning
  • There are 3.6 billion cooling appliances, including refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioning units in use around the globe
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), chemicals that were once used in air conditioning units, among other products, were banned after the Montreal Protocol. However, their replacement, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are also negatively impacting the climate as they are 11,700 times more warming than carbon dioxide
    • In 2019 governments adopted the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol in order to phase out HFCs
    • Doing so could avoid as much as 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit of warming if adopted globally
    • However, major emitters such as the US and India are two of the 90 countries that have not signed on
  • Doubling the energy efficiency of air conditioners could save up to $2.9 trillion by 2050
  • Promoting the construction of energy-efficient housing with alternative cooling options like green roofs will reduce the world’s need for air conditioning

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.


Read More: https://earther.gizmodo.com/we-essentially-cook-ourselves-if-we-don-t-fix-air-con-1844416667

A Tortoise Crosses a Hot and Trafficked Road. The Need to Restore the Environment is Here

U.N. biodiversity plan calls for protecting 30% of Earth by 2030

by Chris D’Angelo, Grist, January 19, 2020


Highlights:

  • The United Nations proposal outlines the need for world governments to protect nearly one-third of all lands and oceans and slash major sources of pollution by the end of the decade, in addition to a major reduction in emissions
  • A United Nations report in May found that up to 1 million land and marine species could be wiped out by human activity if present trends continue
  • The Center for Biological Diversity has prompted the United States to invest in species to protect and restore/create more wildlife sanctuaries to combat the start of Earth’s sixth mass extinction.
  • The 2030 goals include combating the spread and introduction of invasive species and cutting nutrient and plastic pollution by at least 50 percent

Protecting land and water habitats could also help with carbon sequestration.


Read more: https://grist.org/politics/u-n-biodiversity-plan-calls-for-protecting-30-of-earth-by-2030/?utm_content=buffer2cc53&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

COP25 was bankrolled by the biggest polluters

by Corporate Accountability

This year, COP25 in Madrid is bankrolled by some of Spain’s biggest polluters and others heavily invested and involved in fossil fuels. In addition to their climate crimes, many have been tied to human rights and worker abuses around the globe. Sponsorship not only allows these corporations to wrap themselves in the green branding of the COP, but it also increases their access and influence over negotiations.

Read more: https://www.corporateaccountability.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/COP25_CorpSpon_EN-FINAL.pdf

COP25 Closing Plenary. Sunday 15th 2019

Cop25: What was achieved and where to next?

By Jocelyn Timperley, Climate Home News

The annual UN climate talks closed in disappointment on Sunday in Madrid, after two weeks spent trying to hash out a deal.

Countries failed to agree on many of the hoped for outcomes, including rules to set up a global carbon trading system and a system to channel new finance to countries facing the impacts of climate change.

Read more: https://www.climatechangenews.com/2019/12/16/cop25-achieved-next/

UN climate talks stymied by carbon markets’ ‘ghost from the past’

With the COP25 negotiations failing to agree on carbon market rules, it will be up to the UK to bring the world together at the crucial 2020 summit.

By Leslie Hook, Financial Times

The UN climate talks that stuttered to a belated and inconclusive close on Sunday in Madrid were undone by a technical issue that turned into a fatal obstacle.

A central task of this year’s talks, known as COP25, was to iron out rules for a new global carbon market—referred to as “Article 6” because it is the sixth article of the Paris climate accord—and create a system that would allow countries to pay each other for projects that reduce emissions.

Read more: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/16122019/cop25-carbon-markets-un-climate-talks-fail-madrid-kyoto-protocol

UNITED IN SCIENCE: High-level synthesis report of latest climate science (Sept 2019)

See this excellent United Nations high level climate science synthesis (Sept 22 2019) of the latest from the advisory group to the UN Climate Action Summit. You can read the press release and summary here.  This is provides the scientific foundation for much more bold action in California– accelerated timelines and more aggressive policies to address the climate crisis.  -Ellie Cohen

Key Points:

  • There is growing recognition that climate impacts are hitting harder and sooner than climate assessments indicated even a decade ago
  • Meeting the Paris Agreement of staying below 2C warming requires immediate and deep decarbonisation, protection and enhancement of carbon sinks and biodiversity, and efforts to remove CO2 from the atmosphere
  • Current country commitments to reduce emissions globally need to be 3x greater to be in line with the 2°C goal and 5x more for the 1.5°C goal. Technically it is still possible to bridge the gap

Foreword by António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General:

Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. This important document by the United Nations and global partner organizations, prepared under the auspices of the Science Advisory Group of the Climate Action Summit, features the latest critical data and scientific findings on the climate crisis. It shows how our climate is already changing, and highlights the far-reaching and dangerous impacts that will unfold for generations to come. Science informs governments in their decision-making and commitments. I urge leaders to heed these facts, unite behind the science and take ambitious, urgent action to halt global heating and set a path towards a safer, more sustainable future for all.

Key Messages:

 

The Global Climate in 2015 – 2019
• Average global temperature for 2015-2019 is on track to be the warmest of any equivalent period on record. It is currently estimated to be 1.1°C above pre-industrial (1850-1900) times and 0.2°C warmer than 2011-2015
• Observations show that global mean sea level rise is accelerating and an overall increase of 26% in ocean acidity since the beginning of the industrial era

Global Fossil CO2 Emissions
• CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use continue to grow by over 1% annually and 2% in 2018 reaching a new high
• Growth of coal emissions resumed in 2017
• Despite extraordinary growth in renewable energy, fossil fuels still dominate the global energy system

Greenhouse Gas Concentrations
• Increases in CO2 concentrations continue to accelerate
• Current levels of CO2, CH4 and N2O represent 146%, 257% and 122% respectively of preindustrial levels (pre-1750)

Emissions Gap
• Global emissions are not estimated to peak by 2030, let alone by 2020
• Implementing current unconditional NDCs would lead to a global mean temperature rise between 2.9°C and 3.4°C by 2100 relative to pre-industrial levels, and continuing thereafter
• The current level of NDC ambition needs to be roughly tripled for emission reduction to be in line with the 2°C goal and increased fivefold for the 1.5°C goal. Technically it is still possible to bridge the gap

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2018 & 2019 Special Reports
• Limiting temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels would go hand-in-hand with reaching other world goals such as achieving sustainable development and eradicating poverty
• Climate change puts additional pressure on land and its ability to support and supply food, water, health and wellbeing. At the same time, agriculture, food production, and deforestation are major drivers of climate change

Climate Insights
• Growing climate impacts increase the risk of crossing critical tipping points
• There is a growing recognition that climate impacts are hitting harder and sooner than climate assessments indicated even a decade ago
• Meeting the Paris Agreement requires immediate and all-inclusive action encompassing deep decarbonisation complemented by ambitious policy measures, protection and enhancement of carbon sinks and biodiversity, and effort to remove CO2 from the atmosphere

Global Framework for Climate Services
• Climate and early warning information services should underpin decision-making on climate action for adaptation
• The capacities of countries to deliver climate and early warning information services varies across regions

—–

This report has been compiled by the World Meteorological Organization under the auspices of the Science Advisory Group of the UN Climate Action Summit 2019, to bring together the latest climate science related updates from a group of key global partner organizations – The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), UN Environment (UNEP), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Global Carbon Project, Future Earth, Earth League and the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). The content of each chapter of this report is attributable to published information from the respective organizations. Overall content compilation of this material has been carried out by the World Meteorological Organization. This report is available electronically, together with more extended background reports and additional supporting material at: public.wmo.int/en/resources/united_in_science

Higher and further education institutions across the globe declare climate emergency

by UN Environment

Today, networks representing more than 7,000 higher and further education institutions from 6 continents announced that they are declaring a Climate Emergency, and agreed to undertake a three-point plan to address the crisis through their work with students.

The three-point plan includes:

1. Committing to going carbon neutral by 2030 or 2050 at the very latest;

2. Mobilizing more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation;

3. Increasing the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curricula, campus and community outreach programmes.

Read more: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/higher-and-further-education-institutions-across-globe-declare

How a 7th-grader’s strike against climate change exploded into a movement

by Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post

On the ninth Friday of her strike, 13-year-old Alexandria Villasenor wakes to a dozen emails, scores of Twitter notifications and good news from the other side of the planet: Students in China want to join her movement.

Every week since December, the seventh-grader has made a pilgrimage to the United Nations’ headquarters demanding action on climate change. She is one of a cadre of young, fierce and mostly female activists behind the School Strike 4 Climate movement. On March 15, with the support of some of the world’s biggest environmental groups, tens of thousands of kids in at least two dozen countries and nearly 30 U.S. states plan to skip school to protest.

Their demands are uncompromising: Nations must commit to cutting fossil-fuel emissions in half in the next 10 years to avoid catastrophic global warming.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/how-a-7th-graders-strike-against-climate-change-exploded-into-a-movement/2019/02/15/e20868e2-2fb4-11e9-86ab-5d02109aeb01_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.3e9dadf52830

Fossil fuels sponsor the arts, even close to climate talks

by Molly Scott Cato, The Guardian

Those attending the COP24 climate negotiations in Katowice, Poland, this week have been greeted by a bizarre sight: an artistic celebration of one of the main fuels responsible for destroying the global climate. Katowice is the centre of Poland’s coal industry, and despite hosting a conference that represents the last chance saloon when it comes to taking meaningful action on climate change, local politicians pride themselves on the black stuff. Perhaps we could have expected no different when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change decided on such an inappropriate venue and to allow coal companies to sponsor the talks.

If we do make it through climate change with some form of civilisation intact, we will look back at some of the things we are doing now with the moral repugnance we feel towards slavery. There are legitimate parallels here. Climate change will most hurt those yet to be born. Our failure to make the dramatic changes needed to our economy and society means we are behaving as if we own the lives of future generations and have a right to steal their lives from them.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/12/fossil-fuel-sponsorship-arts-climate-change?CMP=twt_a-environment_b-gdneco