In 2016, the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Paris called on the nations of the world to undertake individual programs to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere that are causing world temperatures to rise. It was agreed then that global warming should be held down below 2 degrees Celsius – 1.5 degrees, if possible – above pre-industrial levels.
The UN has now released a new report saying that the current use of fossil fuels appears to be warming the earth’s surface more rapidly than previously believed. Citing studies by two leading research centers in France cooperating with the UN, the report said the new projections show that at the present rate at which the earth’s surface temperature is rising because of carbon emissions, the average earth temperature by 2100 could be higher by 6.5 to 7 degrees.
Last May, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, “We’re still losing the battle. Climate change is still running faster than we are, and if we don’t reverse this trend, it will be a tragedy for the whole world.” This latest report supports his fears.
UN scientists have pointed out that with barely one degree of warming so far, the world is already coping with increasingly deadly heat waves, droughts, floods, tropical cyclones, and hurricanes. The Bahamas and the eastern states of the United States have just been hit by hurricane Dorian and are now bracing for hurricane Humberto.
Hundreds of fires are devastating the great Amazon forest in South America. Icebergs are fast melting in the northern polar regions, particularly in Iceland and Greenland. The melting glaciers, in turn, are raising ocean levels, threatening to inundate low-lying islands around the world. Indonesia has announced it is moving its capital Jakarta to another island, because the present site is fast sinking while surrounding waters are fast rising.
The biggest producer of carbon emissions today is the United States, the world’s top industrial country. Unfortunately, it is also the lone country which rejected the Paris agreement and its goals, probably because it wants to protect its coal industry.
It is hoped that the latest UN report – that world temperatures are rising faster than earlier feared – will encourage the US to restudy its position and join the rest of the world and pledge to curb its carbon emissions.
The Philippines has its own pledge which it submitted to the Paris conference in 2016. We trust that our government is keeping true to this pledge.
Tags: Roni Santiago