Fighting Climate Change: Big Emissions Cuts Needed Soon!

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Climate change is becoming more and more of a concern, not only in the scientific community but also at the government level. This week the United Nations put together a report showing that the world’s governments must cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% to 70% by 2050.

Climate change reports summed up

Reuters reports that it obtained a draft copy of the report today. It provides a summary of three scientific reports from the U.N. from the last year. The report is meant to guide nearly 200 of the world’s governments as they battle climate change. Government leaders are scheduled to meet next year to agree on a deal to battle the environmental issue at a summit that will be held in Paris.

The report states that the current national pledges to cut gas emissions aren’t enough to keep global warning to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit higher than pre-industrial years. The U.N. set that ceiling four years ago in an attempt to cut down on floods, rising seas, storms and heat waves. According to the draft, the average global surface temperatures in some parts of the world have increased by approximately 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since the Industrial Revolution.

Are such emissions cuts possible?

The draft states that it is possible to make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it will require “substantial technological, economic, institutional, and behavioral challenges,” according to the report. Reuters states that the draft will be published Nov. 2 in Copenhagen, although many rounds of editing are expected.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in the report that in order to “give a good chance” of temperatures to remain below 3.6 degrees higher since 2010, countries will have to slash 40% to 70% of their current greenhouse gas emissions. The panel said in order to do this, the world’s nations would have to triple or even quadruple the share of low-carbon energies like nuclear, solar or wind power. That’s a pretty tall order, as emissions climbed from 40 billion tons in 2000 to 49 billion tons in 2010.

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