By Mark Waghorn
Greenhouse gas emissions have hit “an all-time high” as time runs out to save the planet, warns a new report.
They are causing an unprecedented rate of global warming – averaging 1.14°C (34°F) over the last decade.
It adds to evidence Earth is “nearing the point of no return” from disastrous flooding, heatwaves and famines.
Levels are equivalent to 54 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide being spewed out annually.
The remaining budget intended to have a better than 50 percent chance of holding climate change to 1.5°C (34.7°F) has halved over three years.
An international team of 50 experts have launched a project to update key climate indicators every year, so people can be kept informed about critical aspects.
Coordinator Professor Piers Forster, of the University of Leeds, said: “Decisions made now will have an impact on how much temperatures will rise and the degree and severity of impacts we will see as a result.
“Long-term warming rates are currently at a long-term high, caused by highest-ever levels of greenhouse gas emissions. But there is evidence that the rate of increase in greenhouse gas emissions has slowed.
“We need to be nimble footed in the face of climate change. We need to change policy and approaches in the light of the latest evidence about the state of the climate system.
“Time is no longer on our side. Access to up-to-date information is vitally important.”
Human-caused temperature rises have continued to soar since the last major assessment published two years ago.
The analysis was described as a “timely wake-up call” that the pace and scale of action has been insufficient.
It comes as experts meet in Bonn to prepare the ground for the major COP28 climate conference in the UAE in December which will include a stocktake of progress.
Policymakers, climate negotiators and civil society groups need to have access to up-to-date and robust scientific evidence on which to base decisions, said the researchers.
The authoritative source of scientific information on the state of the climate is the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
But the turnaround time for its major assessments is five or ten years, and that creates an information gap, particularly when climate indicators are changing rapidly.
Forster and colleagues have developed an open data, open science platform – the Indicators of Global Climate Change and website.
Writing in the journal Earth System Science Data, they revealed how key indicators have changed since the publication of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Working Group 1 report in 2021.
They show manmade warming, largely caused by the burning of fossil fuels, reached an average of 1.14°C (34°F) for the most recent decade (2013 to 2022) above pre-industrial levels.
This is up from 1.07°C (33.9°F) between 2010 and 2019. Human-induced warming is now increasing at a pace of over 0.2°C (32.4°F) per decade.
There has been positive move away from burning coal, yet this has come at a short-term cost in that it has added to global warming by reducing particulate pollution in the air, which has a cooling effect.
Co-author Professor Maisa Rojas Corradi, Minister of the Environment in Chile, said: “An annual update of key indicators of global change is critical in helping the international community and countries to keep the urgency of addressing the climate crisis at the top of the agenda and for evidence-based decision-making.
“In line with the ‘ratchet-mechanism’ of increasing ambition envisioned by the Paris Agreement we need scientific information about emissions, concentration, and temperature as often as possible to keep international climate negotiations up to date and to be able to adjust and if necessary correct national policies.
“In the case of Chile, we have a climate change law that aims at aligning government-wide policies with climate action.”
In 2020, the IPCC calculated the remaining carbon budget was around 500 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide. By the start of 2023, the figure was roughly half that at around 250 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide.
The reduction is due to a combination of continued emissions since 2020 and updated estimates of human-induced warming.
Forster said: “Even though we are not yet at 1.5°C warming, the carbon budget will likely be exhausted in only a few years as we have a triple whammy of heating from very high CO2 emissions, heating from increases in other GHG emissions and heating from reductions in pollution.
“If we don’t want to see the 1.5°C goal disappearing in our rearview mirror, the world must work much harder and urgently at bringing emissions down.
“Our aim is for this project to help the key players urgently make that important work happen with up-to-date and timely data at their fingertips.”
Deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions need to start happening across the world, or temperatures on Earth will shoot past efforts to limit heating to 1.5°C (2.7F),
Co-author Dr. Valerie Masson-Delmotte, of the University of Paris Saclay who co-chaired the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment report, said: “This robust update shows intensifying heating of our climate driven by human activities.
“It is a timely wake up call for the 2023 global stocktake of the Paris Agreement – the pace and scale of climate action is not sufficient to limit the escalation of climate-related risks.”
Recent IPCC reports have shown with every further increment of global warming the frequency and intensity of climate extremes including heatwaves, heavy rainfall and droughts increases.
It has implications for feeding the world, with the global population expected to reach 10 billion within the next three decades.
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Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Saba Fatima and Newsdesk Manager
The post Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hit An All-time High: Study appeared first on Zenger News.