Toxic emissions still growing

| 26/11/2019 | 7 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are continuing to rise, despite scientific warnings and political commitments, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme. The latest alarming publication on climate change details the yawning gap between the emissions cuts needed to prevent the worst effects of climate change and the actual amount of gases humans are still releasing into the atmosphere.

The report’s authors found that there is “no sign” that levels of emissions in the atmosphere are going to peak anytime soon, with emissions having risen at a rate of 1.5% per year in the last decade. Total GHG emissions, including from land-use change, reached a record high of 55.3 GtCO2e last year.

“For ten years, the Emissions Gap Report has been sounding the alarm – and for ten years, the world has only increased its emissions,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a press release about the report. “There has never been a more important time to listen to the science. Failure to heed these warnings and take drastic action to reverse emissions means we will continue to witness deadly and catastrophic heatwaves, storms and pollution.”

Each year, the emissions gap is growing and now researchers have calculated that the world will need to make cuts in emissions of 7.6% per year from 2020 to 2030 to meet the 1.5°C goal and 2.7% per year for the 2°C goal set in the Paris Accord.

To deliver on these cuts, the levels of ambition on commitments to decrease emissions now need to increase at least five-fold.

“We need to catch up on the years in which we procrastinated,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of the UN Environment Programme that produced the study. “If we do not do this, the 1.5C goal will be out of reach before 2030.”

The report came out Monday, on the eve of the COP25 climate summit that has opened in Madrid. It is supported by data from weather experts that the average concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose to 407.8 parts per million in 2018, up from 405.5 parts per million in 2017.

“There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere despite all the commitments under the Paris agreement,” said Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the UN World Meteorological Organization. “It is worth recalling that the last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5m years ago,” he added. “Back then, the temperature was 2-3C warmer, and sea level was 10-20 metres higher than now.”

See the report here

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Category: Climate Change, Science & Nature

Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Fix the damn dump

  2. Anonymous says:

    The most important statement is in the last paragraph. Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the UN World Meteorological Organization says, “It is worth recalling that the last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5m years ago.” “Back then, the temperature was 2-3C warmer, and sea level was 10-20 metres higher than now.”

    If that is fact and accepted by the UN Environment Programme, then it would appear that there are issues beyond scientists understanding that are occurring. If the earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2, 3-5m years ago, which far exceeds the levels we have today and are forecasted by 2030, what are we spending billions of dollars to accomplish little that will impact the CO2 level. If there is no slowdown in greenhouse gas emissions by signatories to the Paris Accord, why should the U.S. belong and pay by far the most of any nation. The U.S. is spending at a much higher per capita rate than any other country.

    If we are looking at what can be done to reduce CO2 levels, look no further than planting more trees and stop deforestation. Renewable energy, solar and wind, require huge tracts of land, and trees cannot coexist on the same land. How many trees are being planted to make up for the loss of trees when wind and solar are built? Look at the loss of trees on Cayman over the past fifty years. It is really hard to find almond trees anymore. More trees are being removed for all the new construction in areas where trees were once plentiful. Cayman should require replacement of a tree for a tree when they are removed for new construction including roads, waterfront, hospitals, hotels, airport, and so forth.

    Plant trees, leafy bushes and other plants. CO2 levels depend on TREEs.

    • Anonymous says:

      There was a massive surge in Volcanic activity 3-5m years ago, that is nothing like the activity of today.

      and do you really want sea levels to be 10-20m higher than currently?

      • Anonymous says:

        Totally understand your reply. Volcanic activity is a major factor in cooling the earth and led to the ice age. The ash floats around the earth because it cannot exit our atmosphere and blocks out the heat of the sun. The earth cools and we have a new ice age.

        Humans cannot create anywhere near the amount of sun blocking greenhouse gasses that volcanoes create. Can we reduce our pollution? Absolutely. Will we see 32 – 65 feet (3 – 5 meters) in water rise, caused by human activity, in the next 12 years as argued by some scientists and politicians? If that is true, then Cayman should be investing in large sea-going vessels to evacuate the island. East end of GC is not 60 feet and if it is it is only a very small area. And, the Brac cannot hold and sustain 70,000 people just on the bluff area.

        So, we actually agree on some issues however, having spent over 50 years working on greenhouse gas issues, energy conservation, energy efficiency, solar, wind, natural gas, oil, and nuclear, I have a pretty well founded vision of the issues, impacts and alternatives. I am not alarmed at the forecasts because they are based on false premises.

        Will we continue to see sea levels rise? Yes, but not caused by human activity.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I find it interesting the way the image at the top of this story is slanted against the USA when the worst polluters are located on the other side of globe, notably countries like China and India who appear to be doing nothing to reduce emissions.

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