Global warming crisis: is the world on the brink of a climate catastrophe?
The world is on an alarming trajectory when it comes to climate change. Global temperatures are rising and are predicted to increase by nearly 3 degrees by the end of the century. This phenomenon is happening despite international promises and commitments that have proven insufficient in stopping global warming. The scientific community has established that an increase of more than 1.5 degrees would lead to catastrophic effects, a limit that seems increasingly difficult to maintain.
Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has been a prominent voice on this issue. He has emphasized the need for concrete actions and criticized the lack of global leadership in the fight against climate change. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has published reports showing a significant discrepancy between current commitments and those necessary to keep temperature rise below 2.5 to 2.9 degrees.
The ‘Emissions Gap Report 2023’ states that even with the full implementation of unconditional national commitments set out in the Paris Agreement, the world would only achieve a temperature increase limitation of 2.9 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels. The situation is critical, and time to act is running out rapidly.
In the most optimistic scenario, where all commitments towards greenhouse gas emissions neutrality are respected, the temperature increase could be limited to 2 degrees. However, these zero-emission commitments are currently not considered credible. None of the G20 countries are reducing emissions at a pace consistent with these goals. Even with measures in place, the likelihood of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees is only 14%.
The increase in global temperatures is not just an environmental problem; it also has profound social and economic implications. Climate changes affect all people and economies worldwide. Therefore, it is imperative to halt the rise in greenhouse gas emissions and global temperatures. The year 2023 is on track to becoming the hottest year on record, a record that, unfortunately, might not last for long.
The increase in temperatures is largely due to carbon dioxide emissions. Despite the growing risks, these emissions continue to rise. The NewClimate Institute has highlighted a significant discrepancy between desired goals and current reality. With a temperature increase of 1.2 degrees already observed, significant damages are evident. If temperatures double, the threat would be even greater.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published reports with similar findings. According to current national plans, global greenhouse gas emissions are expected to increase by 9% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels. Instead, they should decrease by 45% to curb temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.