The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) has released the sixth assessment report on climate change. This yearly report gives an update on everything climate change-related. Unfortunately, it now declared that the Paris Agreement goal is unachievable.
Simply put, the world is taking too long to change and emissions are not falling. In fact, they continue to rise despite the pandemic. It is now impossible to avoid going beyond the 1.5C threshold.
The longer it takes to cut emissions, the hotter our planet will get.
What Is the Goal of the Paris Agreement and Why Is It Important
The goal of the Paris Agreement is to limit global warming to 1.5C by the end of the century. It is a global initiative that includes almost every country in the world.
Now many might be familiar with this, but not many actually know why this temperature was chosen.
The temperature was chosen after many studies concluded that if the temperature rises 1.5C above industrial levels, it will lead to more droughts, extreme weather events, and cause millions of people to have to migrate to new habitats.
And we are currently 1.2C above the pre-industrial levels.
Given the current climate pledges from countries around the world, it is impossible to limit warming to 1.5C. And an even bigger problem is that the planet is warming faster than previously thought.
Greenhouse Gases Are Responsible For Warming
While this may be obvious to anyone paying attention for the last decade, many still dispute this fact.
However, the IPCC has officially stated that the temperature increase is linked to the greenhouse effect. It even singles out both carbon and methane emissions as the main contributors to global warming.
The report also stated that the only way to reverse this temperature increase is to reduce emissions to zero and employ carbon removal technologies.
While it is impossible to prevent the temperature increase from exceeding 1.5C, we can still keep it close. After this, avoiding 2C is the next biggest concern because it will have even more catastrophic effects on our world.
Unfortunately, if emissions continue to increase, it is likely that the world will even exceed 2C by 2050.
Methane Emissions Are Skyrocketing
In most cases, when people mention emissions, they are talking about carbon. But the report highlights methane emissions.
Methane in our atmosphere is currently at the highest level it has been within the last 800,000 years. It is 80 times more potent in terms of planet-warming power when compared to carbon dioxide in the short term.
The reason a short-term look is examined is that it will only last in the atmosphere for around nine years. Meanwhile, carbon will persist for hundreds of years.
The report highlights that due to its potency, we need to carefully monitor and limit methane emissions. This could significantly slow down how fast the planet is warming.
We Are Already Seeing the Effects
As we get closer and closer to 1.5C, we can already see what the future holds for us.
Just this summer, we have seen record-shattering heatwaves, flashfloods that cover major cities, uncontrollable forest fires, and even major melting events. The fear of the planet getting even warmer is warranted.
Only immediate action can bring about the necessary change.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.