Representatives of more than 150 countries are to gather at the United Nations on Friday to officially sign the global accord to cut greenhouse gas emissions and slow climate change.
But in the four months since that agreement was negotiated in Paris, scientific findings have underscored that staving off the worst consequences of global warming may take far more aggressive actions, reports The Washington Post.
“Even if the Paris pledges are implemented in full, they are not enough to get us even close to a 2-degree pathway,” says John Sterman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, referring to the long-held goal to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), compared with pre-industrial times. “I don’t think people understand how urgent it is.”
The latest analysis by Sterman and his colleagues at the Climate Interactive research group shows the Paris pledges putting the world on track for 3.5 degrees C of warming. A separate analysis by Climate Action Tracker, a European group, projects warming of 2.7 degrees C.
Meanwhile, there are concerns at the U.N. about apparent attempts inside the United States to “sabotage” President Obama’s commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the head of the U.N. General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft of Denmark, said on Wednesday.
“Seen from a climate (agreement) implementation point-of-view, it's very important how it plays out in the elections in the United States, including the selection of the missing member of the Supreme Court," Lykketoft says.
He says he isn’t taking a partisan position in the election. But, he says: “If the United States of America is not playing a constructive role here, we will almost certainly not reach the goals, because it’s such a huge economy,” adding that it’s “crucial that there is non-denier on climate (change) as the American president."