Despite all the promises to take action, the world is still on course to heat up to dangerous levels. That’s the latest blunt assessment of the United Nations. Its experts have studied the climate plans of more than 100 countries and concluded that we’re heading in the wrong direction. Scientists recently confirmed that to avoid the worst impacts of hotter conditions, global carbon emissions needed to be cut by 45% by 2030.
Global heating above 1.5C will be “catastrophic” for Pacific island nations and could lead to the loss of entire countries due to sea level rise within the century, experts have warned. The warnings come as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its landmark report on global heating on Monday, which showed that greenhouse gas emissions needed to be halved to limit heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
The United Nations panel on climate change told the world on Monday that global warming was dangerously close to being out of control – and that humans were “unequivocally” to blame. Already, greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere are high enough to guarantee climate disruption for decades if not centuries, the report from the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned.
There is a 40% chance that global temperatures will reach 1.5C above pre-industrial levels in the next five years, UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said. Last year WMO said there was a 20% chance of the threshold being breached. In its latest forecast, however, the organization said the worsening of the odds is due to improvements in technology showing that the world had “actually warmed more than we thought already”.
The biggest iceberg in the world has broken loose from an ice shelf in Antarctica, the European Space Agency has confirmed. The iceberg, dubbed “A-76”, is 109 miles (175km) long and 16 miles (25km) wide, making it larger than the Spanish island of Majorca and surpassing the now second-largest iceberg, which is 3,380sq km. Ice melt around the world has been accelerated by climate change.
A tenth of the world’s mountain glacier ice will have melted by the middle of this century even if humanity meets the goals of the Paris climate agreement, according to figures compiled exclusively for the Guardian. The loss is equivalent to more than 13,200 cubic kilometres of water – enough to fill Lake Superior. The compiled results are considered the most accurate estimate yet of how mountains will lose their white snow-caps and blue ice-rivers.
US President Joe Biden will aim to kick-start a crucial year of action on climate change today as he hosts 40 world leaders at an Earth Day summit. The virtual White House meeting coincides with Mr Biden’s expected promise to slash America’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030. A senior official said the Biden administration is increasing its own targets in order to more effectively convince other countries to do the same.
Carbon dioxide emissions are forecast to jump this year by the second biggest annual rise in history, as global economies pour stimulus cash into fossil fuels in the recovery from the Covid-19 recession. The leap will be second only to the massive rebound 10 years ago after the financial crisis, and will put climate hopes out of reach unless governments act quickly, the International Energy Agency has warned.
Japan’s famous cherry blossoms have reached their flowery peak in many places earlier this year than at any time since formal records began nearly 70 years ago, with experts saying the climate crisis is the likely cause. Referred to in Japan as sakura, the blossoms used to reach their peak in April, coinciding with the start of the new school and business year.
Nearly a third of all freshwater fish species are threatened by extinction, according to a new report released by 16 conservation groups on Tuesday. Migratory populations have declined by more than three-quarters since the 1970s. “The World’s Forgotten Fishes” says that 80 freshwater species — which make up more than half of all the world’s species — have already been declared extinct, with 16 disappearing in 2020 alone.