MELBOURNE (dpa) – With its past commitments in the fight against the climate crisis, the international community could with a certain probability remain just below the symbolic two-degree mark – if the promises are kept.
This is what an international research group wrote based on calculations in the journal Nature. All promised reductions in greenhouse gas emissions must be implemented on schedule, in terms of scope and timing. However, there are great skepticism about this among experts.
Reduction commitments are likely to be sufficient
The team led by Malte Meinshausen from the University of Melbourne in Australia included all the goals and commitments countries made at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in their analyses. The researchers calculated the effects of the reported reduction in greenhouse gases on average global temperature. They came to the conclusion that there was a 48 to 58 percent chance that current reduction commitments would be enough to avoid a temperature rise of more than two degrees.
The range in percentage shows the uncertainty in the calculation. For example, some government obligations are ambiguous or contain a set of values instead of a number. For some economic sectors, the database may not be strong enough. Moreover, the capabilities of individual states to achieve the goals that they have set for themselves are completely different. It is also difficult to account for land use and changes to it, such as deforestation.
The Paris climate agreement passed in 2015 aims to keep global warming not just close to 2°C, but “well below” 2°C compared to the pre-industrial era. In addition, the contracting nations are determined to intensify their efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, they said at the time. However, commitments made by contracting states in 2015 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were not even sufficient to meet the two-degree target. In the years since and finally at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in 2021, many countries have increased their savings targets.
According to the new study, it is quite clear that the chance of hitting the 1.5-degree goal with current commitments is very slim. Researchers talk about a six to ten percent chance if global emissions are not reduced significantly in this decade.
Scientists warn of delays
According to the researchers, the projection that global warming could only stay below 2 degrees applies only if not only the unconditional obligations are fully fulfilled, but also those that are still subject to the conditions. Scientists working with Meinshausen therefore call for additional policy efforts to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and caution regarding the two-degree target: “Any delays in the expansion of renewable energies, in phasing out fossil fuel use and in developing additional, permanent and sustainable negative emissions options will make This goal is unattainable.”
In a commentary also published in Nature, Zeke Hausfather of the Berkeley nonprofit Berkeley Earth and Frances Moore of the University of California at Davis (both in California, USA) caution that commitments are not enough: “Although the ambitious network-not Long-term pledges in recent years are certainly good news, and doubts remain about whether governments are on the right track to fulfill these commitments.” In addition, recent events have shown that a future marked by a resurgence of nationalism, straining global cooperation and leading to a corresponding increase in emissions, cannot be ruled out.
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