UN Climate Science Report Grapples With The Likely Failure Of The Paris Accord

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

Nearly 200 UN scientists and ambassadors from various countries are in Incheon, South Korea, finalizing a report on the world’s likely failure to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, The Washington Post reports.

The Paris Climate Accord, a non-binding international agreement to limit emissions, was signed in December 2015. The countries involved pledged to curb emissions in the hopes of limiting global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

President Donald Trump announced in June 2017 that he would pull the U.S. out of the agreement. (RELATED: It’s Been One Year Since Trump Promised To Leave The Paris Climate Accord)

The Paris agreement has largely failed to meet its climate goals without radical action taken to cut carbon emissions on a global scale. A July 2017 study found just a 5-percent chance that climate change is kept under 2 degrees Celsius of warming.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the committee publishing the report, is made up of 50 scientists and representatives from about 130 countries.

“The pledges countries made during the Paris climate accord don’t get us anywhere close to what we have to do,” Duke University climate researcher and IPCC report co-author Drew Shindell told WaPo. “They haven’t really followed through with actions to reduce their emissions in any way commensurate with what they profess to be aiming for.”

Most countries that agreed to the Paris Climate Accord might not be cutting global emissions by ratcheting up environmental regulations. Instead, emissions-intensive industries, such as manufacturing and coal power, might just be moving to other countries with less-expensive environmental regulations, according to a September study from the ClimateWorks Foundation.

Several leaked drafts of the report suggest that the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is struggling with how to address the issue in the final copy due Monday.

draft leaked in February said “there is a very high risk” average global temperatures rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels based on models of carbon emissions.

Another draft leaked in June backed off the initial doomsday prediction.

“There is no simple answer to the question of whether it is feasible to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and to adapt to the consequences because feasibility has multiple dimensions that need to be considered simultaneously and systematically,” the draft said.

IPCC scientists said they believe meeting the goal is still possible through radical cutbacks of emissions in tandem with the development of large-scale carbon scrubbing technology that can remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, WaPo reports.

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