A United Nations report released on Tuesday gives a grim outlook on the world’s progress so far in the fight to combat global climate change.
The assessment demonstrates failure across the board. According to the report, global temperatures could rise, on average, by as much as 3.9 degrees Celsius (about 7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the year 2100, the Washington Post reported.
To some, that sounds like no big deal — but a temperature rise that high would be catastrophic, the report points out.
The goal of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord was to keep temperatures from rising below 2 degrees Celsius before the turn of the century. The report warns that temperature rises could result in rapid dissolving of coral reefs around the world, severe heat that would make many regions unbearable to live, and rising sea levels that could threaten coastal cities.
VIDEO: The world must slash its emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases by 7.6 percent every year to 2030 or miss the chance to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C and avert devastating #climatechange, the UN Environment Programme says pic.twitter.com/a91GfBRqe2
— AFP news agency (@AFP) November 26, 2019
Some of the effects of climate change are already noticeable. In Venice, Italy, a city known for its waterways, a high tide has resulted in the area being immersed in water where it doesn’t typically belong. It’s the highest tide seen in the city in 50 years, and local officials say climate change is to blame for the massive flooding, the BBC reported.
Gas emissions, particularly carbon, are largely to blame for the negative prognosis. Gas emissions around the world have risen by 1.5 percent per year, on average, over the past 10 years. For the goal of the Paris Accord to be met, emissions would have to drop by 7.6 percent per year starting in 2020 — and it doesn’t seem likely for that to happen anytime soon.
At the turn of the 18th century, global greenhouse emissions measured less than 3 billion metric tons per year. In the 2010s, more than 30 billion metric tons of greenhouse emissions were being put out each year, according to the statistics website Our World in Data.