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- November 26, 2019 -

Green Supply Chain News: UN Says Time is about Out to Save the Planet


Hitting Target for Rising Temperatures will Require Massive Reduction in CO2 Emissions Right Now

By The Green Supply Chain Editorial Staff

The Green Supply
Chain Says:

The UN report says the actions needed are clear: completely phase out coal, significantly pare back oil and gas, and dramatically build up renewable energy.

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There is still time to save the planet from the worst of global warming – but only if truly drastic action is taken immediately.


So says the United Nations in its latest “Emissions Gap” report that says global CO2 emissions will need to fall 7.6% each year until 2030 to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C, the generally accepted target level.


Reducing CO2 by 7.6% annually is in fact almost an impossible task. Emissions have actually continued to rise, reaching a record 55.3 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases in 2018 - three years after 195 countries signed the Paris treaty on climate change that was supposed to deliver reduced emissions.

Many critics on both sides warned at the time the UN agreement was unlikely to deliver lower CO2 levels since everything was based on unenforceable planned reductions – and reporting – from all those nearly 200 companies.


“We are failing to curb greenhouse gas emissions,” UNEP's executive director, Inger Andersen said. ‘Unless we take urgent action now and make very significant cuts to global emissions we're going to miss the target of 1.5C.”


The Paris accord in theory committed nations to reduce CO2 emissions that collectively were said would limit temperature increases above pre-industrial levels to “well below” 2C, and possibly to a safer 1.5-C.


To get there, the accord also included agreement on the need to reduce emissions and work towards a low-carbon world within decades, though rather vaguely.            


But the UN now says that even taking into account current Paris pledges, the world is on track for a 3.2C temperature rise, something some observers say would have a devastating impact not only on the environment but society as a whole.


The report notes the steep 7.6% reduction in CO2 needed annually now would be far less onerous if more action had been taken earlier.


Even if every country made good on its promises - very doubtful at best - the Earth's “carbon budget” for just a 1.5-C rise (the amount we can emit to stay below a certain temperature threshold) would be exhausted within a decade at current emissions rates.


In its own words, the UN assessment is 'bleak'.


While insisting the 1.5-C goal is still attainable, the report noted that this would require an unprecedented, coordinated upheaval of a global economy that is still fueled overwhelmingly by fossil fuels.


The UN report says the actions needed are clear: completely phase out coal, significantly pare back oil and gas, and dramatically build up renewable energy.


And that, we say, is not happening any time soon.

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