Global Pledges To Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions Mark Progress, But More Is Needed: Climate Experts
Around 140 countries have submitted plans to reduce their emission of greenhouse gases in order to help curb the effects of climate change on the environment.
However, many experts believe this month is not enough to produce any considerable impact on the warming of the planet, which is expected to increase global temperatures by two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to conditions during pre-industrial times.
The United States and China, two of the leading emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, joined fellow nations from Albania to Zimbabwe in presenting their climate plans in accordance with the UN-set deadline on Thursday, Oct. 1.
The plans will serve as building blocks toward creating a climate agreement that international negotiators will try to achieve at the Paris conference later this year.
A Climate Action Tracker (CAT), which was established by four research organizations from Europe, projected that if the accord on climate change were implemented, it would reduce the average increase in temperatures by as much as 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.9 degrees Fahrenheit) more than that of pre-industrial times by the year 2100. This is lower than the 3.1 degrees Celsius (5.6 degrees Fahrenheit) that was set last December.
The latest estimate is still relatively above the two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature level that world governments have agreed to as the threshold. Temperature increases beyond this point would cause serious changes on the Earth such as more frequent floods, droughts, rising seas and extinctions of species.
Bill Hare, a representative from the group Climate Analytics, said that the Earth is currently three degrees below the threshold for the first time. While there is still much to be done to reach the ideal point, he said the latest reading proves that the process can succeed.
Hare cited China's climate plan as the largest contributor to this positive development. The country's green initiative, which was started in June, is aimed at getting carbon emissions from burning oil, natural gas and coal to peak by 2030.
Despite not being able to reach a climate accord at the Copenhagen conference six years ago, delegates to this year's Paris summit are looking forward to reaching an agreement to enhance the climate plans in order to achieve the two degrees Celsius target.
Photo: Uwe Hermann | Flickr