You’ll be forgiven if your head is making headlines about climate change this week. Some reports suggest that countries are falling far short of their promises, with potentially dire consequences, but there also appear to be some signs of optimism. Here is a quick look.
Are things really that bad?
Let’s start with the word “optimist,” which is a word we don’t often see in an article on climate change. Explore the morning newsletter The meaning of optimism in the context of climate trends, and where progress has been made in the world.
He cited the work of columnist David Wallace Wells, which was five years ago Explore the worst case scenario For climate change in which the planet has warmed by as much as 5°C by 2100. That would be catastrophic, causing extreme weather, environmental damage, economic collapse, famine and war, while hitting developing countries particularly hard.
But Mr. Wallace-Wells now sees this level of doom as less likely, indicating that humans have made progress on one of the gravest challenges they have ever faced. Mr. Wallace Wells said, “I have become more optimistic than I used to be.” “The endgame looks much calmer and more stable than it did a few years ago.”
It’s a matter of a few degrees.
Mr. Wallace-Wells wrote an article that was published online on Wednesday in New York Times MagazineClimate issue. His article is a broad treatment of a new climatic reality that is emerging: one that lies somewhere far from total doom.
It begins with the word “apocalypse” to describe outdated expectations of a future where “business as usual” leads to four or even five degrees Celsius warming, food crises, heat stress, conflict, economic strife and more will ensue. But he notices that Scientists believe that the warming of this century You will most likely fall Between two or three degrees.
“These numbers may seem abstract, but what they’re proposing is this: Thanks to staggering declines in the price of renewables, true global political mobilization, a clearer picture of the energy future and a serious focus on policy from world leaders, we have cut projected warming by nearly half in five years. Only, Mr. Wallace Wells wrote.
But he also cautioned against retracting what he called useful accounts of the apocalypse and normalcy. Could you Explore his account Dozens of conversations with climate scientists, economists, policy makers, activists, and others, and the guidelines he uses to help map climate potential.
Countries are failing to fulfill their obligations.
The range of temperatures between two and three degrees Celsius has been confirmed this week by the United Nations, in a Report covered by The Times. Although this scenario is an improvement over previous forecasts, it still translates to severe disruption. with Every part of the warmingtens of millions of people around the world will be exposed to life-threatening heat waves, food and water scarcity, and floods.
Countries are failing to meet their commitments to combat climate change, the report said: Only 26 of the 193 countries that agreed last year to ramp up their actions have followed suit. One problem seems to be standardization. On Monday, the European Union said it would only be able to increase its emissions cut pledges when its members agreed on future climate laws.
But the energy crisis, global inflation and political turmoil in countries like Britain and Brazil have distracted leaders and complicated collaborative efforts to tackle climate change. The war in Europe was also a factor.
The energy crisis of the invasion of Ukraine may have a surprising result.
Meanwhile, this week the International Energy Agency Analyze it The Russian invasion of Ukraine and its impact on global warming suggested a potentially positive development: the energy crisis triggered by the war is likely to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean technologies.
This shift, however, is not happening fast enough to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, the agency said.
Some countries were burning more fossil fuels, such as coal, in response to natural gas shortages caused by the war in Ukraine. Coal is the most polluting fossil fuel, meaning global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels It is expected to rise by about 1% It is close to standard levels.
But the International Energy Agency said the rising cost of fossil fuels has prompted many countries to invest heavily in clean, renewable alternatives.
The agency said in its report that the increase in emissions would have been three times its size had it not been for the rapid deployment of wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles around the world. World Energy Outlookwhich forecasts global energy trends.
“It is noteworthy that many of these new clean energy goals are not being set for reasons solely related to climate change,” Fatih Birol, the agency’s executive director, said in an interview. “Increasingly, the big drivers are energy security as well as industrial policy – a lot of countries want to be at the forefront of the energy industries of the future.”
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