Wednesday November 27th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials)😉
Dear Diary. The Climate Guy as my readers have known, has delayed a big change of tone and tune until after the 2020 elections, pining a last hope of turning the whole climate crisis around on new U.S. leadership. I simply won’t become horribly pessimistic until after November 2020, and hopefully not during the 2020s. The latest United Nations assessment that came out this week continues to give me pause, though, since I have basically seen no change in the overall direction of global warming since James Hansen’s testimony before Congress stirred into action in 1989. Yesterday I did report a little hope concerning the potential demise of coal. Getting the world off its addiction to oil and gas during the next decade will probably be a much heavier lift, especially after reading Rachel Maddow’s book Blowout. Will we as a species leave money buried in the ground? I have great doubts, but we have to.
For today’s main topic I am using a Buzzfeed article, which relates another dire warning:
“We Cannot Afford To Fail”: A New UN Report Is Forecasting Potentially Catastrophic Warming
The world has already warmed 1 degree Celsius, and it’s on track to warm more than 3 degrees by the end of the century.
Zahra Hirji BuzzFeed News Reporter
Posted on November 26, 2019, at 3:16 a.m. ET
The world is on track to warm by a potentially catastrophic 3.4 to 3.9 degrees Celsius by 2100, according to a dire new United Nations report analyzing current climate policies.
The UN “Emissions Gap Report 2019,” published on Tuesday, highlighted the urgent need for aggressive policies to curb emissions.
“We have to learn from our procrastination. Any further delay brings the need for larger, more expensive and unlikely cuts,” Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, wrote in the report’s foreword. “We cannot afford to fail.”
The amount of greenhouse gas emissions is continuing to build up in the atmosphere year after year, hitting a record high of 55.3 gigatons of climate pollution (measured in “carbon dioxide equivalent”) in 2018. The only way to prevent the most catastrophic climate impacts is to quickly reverse this trend, a challenge that only gets harder the longer countries wait to take action.
The Paris climate agreement, signed by hundreds of countries in 2015, aimed to limit future warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius below pre-industrial levels. Since then, the stakes have only risen. Scientists have learned the climate is changing faster than previously thought, and that even a slight increase in global temperatures could result in massive coral reef die-offs. An increase in extreme weather events is already hurting the economy.
The annual UN report, which measures how far off-track the world is from meeting its climate goals, concluded that global greenhouse gas emissions must drop 7.5% each year over the next decade to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7% each year to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius.
If the world had taken stronger climate action in 2010, by contrast, countries would have only had to cut emissions 0.7% a year to meet the 2-degree target and 3.3% to hit the 1.5-degree goal.
The Group of 20 (G20) countries account for most — about 78% — of the world’s emissions. While in 2009 the group pledged that it would phase out fossil fuel subsidies, no country has so far committed to doing so by a specific year.
And several of these countries are not on track to meet their individual climate pledges to date, including the United States and Canada. President Donald Trump vowed in 2017 to withdraw the US from the Paris agreement, and his administration has aggressively rolled back many climate rules and initiatives in recent years.
Meanwhile, only five G20 participants, including the European Union, have committed to eventually achieving net-zero emissions, meaning that they would release the same amount of emissions as they can pull out of the atmosphere through natural or man-made processes.
Even if every country across the globe was on track to meet their stated climate targets, the world would still be headed to warming of more than 3 degrees Celsius by 2100, the report found.
The new report also outlined steps for how specific G20 countries can boost their climate action going forward. The United States could implement carbon pricing to achieve a carbon-free electricity supply and to reduce industrial emissions, as well as implement new clean building and vehicle standards. Japan, India, and China could all aim to be coal-free. The European Union could stop investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure, including natural gas pipelines.
“This report gives us a stark choice: set in motion the radical transformations we need now, or face the consequences of a planet radically altered by climate change,” UN’s Andersen wrote.
World leaders will gather in Madrid next week at COP25, the UN’s convention on climate change, to hammer out the final details of implementing the Paris climate agreement and discuss how countries can do more to address the crisis.
Please work hard with me to change the political situation led by Trump here in the United States. Also, remain optimistic, never giving up hope until the last vestige of international cooperation appears to be gone. Hopefully during the 2020s subsequent U.N. reports won’t be so dire due to your hard work.
Here is more climate and weather news from Wednesday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article.)
Here are some southern African “ET’s:”
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Guy Walton- “The Climate Guy”