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Planet on course to miss the 2020 deadline

AFP
Published : Jan 22, 2019, 3:05 pm IST
Updated : Jan 22, 2019, 3:05 pm IST

The world would miss its "best chance" of preventing climate change by ensuring global greenhouse gas emissions peak in 2020.

Scientific consensus is consolidating that for in order for Earth to avoid the worst scourges of climate change, emissions must peak by 2020 and drastically reduce thereafter. (Photo: AFP)
 Scientific consensus is consolidating that for in order for Earth to avoid the worst scourges of climate change, emissions must peak by 2020 and drastically reduce thereafter. (Photo: AFP)

Paris: The world is on course to miss the “turning point” in the course of global warming if it carries on the way it is currently, failing to ensure global greenhouse gas emissions peak in 2020, researchers warned Tuesday.

Even as Earth is buffeted by superstorms, droughts and flooding made worse by rising seas and as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise globally, an analysis by the World Resources Institute (WRI) showed that current efforts to limit temperature increases are falling well short.

In 2017, experts identified six key milestones that mankind must hit by 2020 if the Paris climate goal of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) is to have a fighting chance of being met.

They include radical changes to how we get our electricity, and to how goods and services are distributed worldwide. Chief among these are an immediate phasing out of fossil fuels, including a total halt to new coal power plant construction within two years, as well as an end to dirty energy subsidies.

The WRI on Tuesday said that achieving the 2020 goals was Earth's "best chance" of honouring the Paris deal goals. Some progress has been made in renewable energy and green finance, it said, but headway was deemed "insufficient" across a host of sectors.

"One thing from energy, where things are going much better, is how renewable energy is progressing," said Helen Mountford, WRI's vice president for climate change and economics. Renewables such as wind and solar now account for roughly 25 per cent of global electricity production, not too far from the 2020 goal of 30 per cent.

"Subsidies for coal, oil, and gas essentially act as a negative carbon price, reducing the costs for these polluting substances and taking up funding that could instead be used for other expenditures, including investment in sustainable development," the WRI said. The world is still seeing a net gain in coal production. According to the research, better transparency and reporting by governments and the private sector is also essential to allow for more targeted green action to take place.

Tags: global warming, climate change, paris agreement on climate change