UN warns world must reduce pollution

UN warns world must reduce pollution

FILE – Pakistani women walk through a flooded area to find shelter in Shikarpur district, Pakistan’s Sindh province, September 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan, File)

BERLIN (AP) — Humanity still has a chance to prevent the worst future damage from climate change, a panel of top United Nations scientists warned Monday.

But that requires rapidly reducing carbon dioxide pollution and fossil fuel burning by nearly two-thirds by 2035, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres put it more bluntly, calling for an end to fossil fuel exploration and for rich countries to stop using coal, oil and gas from here 2040.

“Humanity is walking on a thin layer of ice, and this ice is rapidly melting,” said António Guterres. “Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once.”

António Guterres called on rich countries to bring forward their goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2040 and developing countries by 2050, about a decade ahead of current targets. He also called for phasing out coal by 2030 and 2040, respectively, and ensuring carbon dioxide-free electricity generation in the developed world by 2035, meaning gas-fired thermoelectric plants will also disappear.

This date is essential because nations must soon propose pollution reduction targets by 2035, as part of the Paris Climate Agreement. The UN scientific report approved on Sunday concludes that to stay below the warming limit set in Paris, the world must eliminate 60% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2035, compared to 2019, adding a new objective not previously mentioned in the six reports. issued since 2018.

“Choices and actions implemented during this decade will have impacts for thousands of years,” says the report, which sees climate change as “a threat to human well-being and the health of the planet. “.

“We’re not on the right track, but it’s not too late,” said Aditi Mukherji, the report’s co-author and water expert. “Our intention is to convey a message of hope and not of the end of the world.”

With the world just tenths of a degree closer to the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, scientists stressed a sense of urgency. The target was adopted as part of the 2015 Paris climate agreement and the world has already warmed by 1.1°C (2°F).

This is probably the last warning the group of scientists can give about the 1.5°C mark, as their next round of reports could come out after the Earth either crosses the bar or is on track for the 1.5C mark. soon, several scientists, including the report’s authors, told The Associated Press.

After 1.5 degrees “the risks start to accumulate,” said Francis X. Johnson, co-author of the report and a climate, land and policy scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute. The report mentions “tipping points” around this temperature linked to the extinction of species (including coral reefs), the irreversible melting of ice sheets and the rise of several meters (yards) of the level of the sea.

“1.5 is a critical limit, especially for small islands and glacier-dependent mountains,” Mukherji said.

“If emissions aren’t reduced as quickly as possible, the time for action will be over,” Johnson said in an interview. “Scientists are quite alarmed.” ___ Fabiano Maisonnave in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report. Borenstein reported from Kensington, Maryland. ___ The Associated Press’s climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

A section of the Serre-Ponçon lake is dry in the south of France, March 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole, File)
A section of the Serre-Ponçon lake is dry in the south of France, March 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole, File)

Melissa Galbraith
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