‘Deeply Depressing’ Study Shows Planet-Warming Emissions Continue to Rise

Wcmax1 20220717 20220723 Europe

“If current emissions levels persist, there is now a 50% chance that global warming of 1.5°C will be exceeded in nine years.”

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

JAKE JOHNSONNovember 11, 2022

Rapid and drastic cuts to global greenhouse gas emissions are necessary to curb warming and prevent the most dire climate scenarios from becoming reality.

But a new study released Friday by the Global Carbon Project finds “no sign of the decrease that is urgently needed” as emissions remain at record levels this year, with fossil fuel giants and governments plowing ahead with new extraction efforts that could push critical climate targets out of reach.

Scientists with the Global Carbon Project estimate that total CO2 emissions will reach 40.6 billion tonnes this year—driven by rising pollution from fossil fuels—and will likely continue to rise in 2023 without bold action from policymakers worldwide.

“If current emissions levels persist, there is now a 50% chance that global warming of 1.5°C will be exceeded in nine years,” the researchers note. “Projected emissions from coal and oil are above their 2021 levels, with oil being the largest contributor to total emissions growth.”

“The 2022 picture among major emitters is mixed: emissions are projected to fall in China (0.9%) and the E.U. (0.8%), and increase in the USA (1.5%) and India (6%), with a 1.7% rise in the rest of the world combined,” the report finds.

Professor Pierre Friedlingstein of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute, the lead author of the new study, lamented in a statement that “we see yet another rise in global fossil CO2 emissions” in 2022 “when we need a rapid decline.”

“There are some positive signs,” Friedlingstein added, pointing to the slowing growth of fossil fuel emissions over the long term, “but leaders meeting at COP27 will have to take meaningful action if we are to have any chance of limiting global warming close to 1.5°C.”

That increasingly imperiled warming target remains a focus as world leaders gather in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt for the annual United Nations climate conference, a key opportunity for nations to commit to collective action against a climate emergency that is wreaking havoc worldwide.

Climate campaigners warn the opportunity is at risk of being squandered as Big Oil lobbyists swarm the conference and gas producers use the event to push their dirty energy source as a “transition fuel.”

Professor Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia, a co-author of the Global Carbon Project study, said that if governments respond to worsening climate chaos “by turbocharging clean energy investments and planting, not cutting, trees, global emissions could rapidly start to fall.”

“We are at a turning point and must not allow world events to distract us from the urgent and sustained need to cut our emissions to stabilize the global climate and reduce cascading risks,” Le Quéré warned.

Allowing planetary heating to exceed 1.5°C above preindustrial levels by the end of the century would spell disaster for large swaths of the planet as trends already seen around the world—from increasingly extreme weather events to species extinctions to rapidly melting sea ice—would accelerate, potentially locking in irreversible climate damage.

Professor Mark Maslin of University College London told The Guardian that the Global Carbon Project study is “deeply depressing.”

“It sends a clear message to the leaders at COP27—the world needs to have significant cuts in global emissions in 2023 if we are to have any chance to keep climate change to 1.5°C,” said Maslin.

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Related

A fire burns near an oil well in California

Analysis Exposes Big Oil’s Plot to Unleash Climate-Killing ‘Carbon Bombs’ Worldwide

Jake Johnson · May 11, 2022

American Chestnut trees

Climate Crisis Pushing Up to 1 in 6 US Tree Species Toward Extinction: Study

Julia Conley · Aug 23, 2022

"1.5 to survive" message at protest

‘Abdication of Responsibility’: Fury as COP27 Draft Omits Oil and Gas Phase-Out

Julia Conley · Nov 17, 2022

Icebergs near Ilulissat, Greenland

‘We Must Wake Up!’ Study Says Climate Tipping Points Loom—But Some Are Avoidable

Brett Wilkins · Sep 8, 2022

Continue Reading‘Deeply Depressing’ Study Shows Planet-Warming Emissions Continue to Rise

Seriously ugly: here’s how Australia will look if the world heats by 3°C this century

Shutterstock

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, The University of Queensland and Lesley Hughes, Macquarie University

Imagine, for a moment, a different kind of Australia. One where bushfires on the catastrophic scale of Black Summer happen almost every year. One where 50℃ days in Sydney and Melbourne are common. Where storms and flooding have violently reshaped our coastlines, and unique ecosystems have been damaged beyond recognition – including the Great Barrier Reef, which no longer exists.

Frighteningly, this is not an imaginary future dystopia. It’s a scientific projection of Australia under 3℃ of global warming – a future we must both strenuously try to avoid, but also prepare for.

The sum of current commitments under the Paris climate accord puts Earth on track for 3℃ of warming this century. Research released today by the Australian Academy of Science explores this scenario in detail.

The report, which we co-authored with colleagues, lays out the potential damage to Australia. Unless the world changes course and dramatically curbs greenhouse gas emissions, this is how bad it could get.

A spotlight on the damage

Nations signed up to the Paris Agreement collectively aim to limit global warming to well below 2℃ this century and to pursue efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5℃. But on current emissions-reduction pledges, global temperatures are expected to far exceed these goals, reaching 2.9℃ by 2100.

Australia is the driest inhabited continent, and already has a highly variable climate of “droughts and flooding rains”. This is why of all developed nations, Australia has been identified as one of the most vulnerable to climate change.

The damage is already evident. Since records began in 1910, Australia’s average surface temperature has warmed by 1.4℃, and its open ocean areas have warmed by 1℃. Extreme events – such as storms, droughts, bushfires, heatwaves and floods – are becoming more frequent and severe.

Today’s report brings together multiple lines of evidence such as computer modelling, observed changes and historical paleoclimate studies. It gives a picture of the damage that’s already occurred, and what Australia should expect next. It shines a spotlight on four sectors: ecosystems, food production, cities and towns, and health and well-being.

In all these areas, we found the impacts of climate change are profound and accelerating rapidly.




Read more:
Yes, Australia is a land of flooding rains. But climate change could be making it worse


Perth residents at an evacuation centre during a bushfire
Perth residents at an evacuation centre during a bushfire in February this year. Such events will become more frequent under climate change.
Richard Wainwright/AAP

1. Ecosystems

Australia’s natural resources are directly linked to our well-being, culture and economic prosperity. Warming and changes in climate have already eroded the services ecosystems provide, and affected thousands of species.

The problems extend to the ocean, which is steadily warming. Heat stress is bleaching and killing corals, and severely damaging crucial habitats such as kelp forests and seagrass meadows. As oceans absorb carbon dioxide (CO₂) from the atmosphere, seawater is reaching record acidity levels, harming marine food webs, fisheries and aquaculture.

At 3℃ of global warming by 2100, oceans are projected to absorb five times more heat than the observed amount accumulated since 1970. Being far more acidic than today, ocean oxygen levels will decline at ever-shallower depths, affecting the distribution and abundance of marine life everywhere. At 1.5-2℃ warming, the complete loss of coral reefs is very likely.




Read more:
The oceans are changing too fast for marine life to keep up


A clownfish
Heat stress is killing corals and marine animal habitat.
Shutterstock

Under 3℃ warming, global sea levels are projected to rise 40-80 centimetres, and by many more metres over coming centuries. Rising sea levels are already inundating low-lying coastal areas, and saltwater is intruding into freshwater wetlands. This leads to coastal erosion that amplifies storm impacts and affects both ecosystems and people.

Land and freshwater environments have been damaged by drought, fire, extreme heatwaves, invasive species and disease. An estimated 3 billion vertebrate animals were killed or displaced in the Black Summer bushfires. Some 24 million hectares burned, including 80% of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and 50% of Gondwana rainforests. At 3℃ of warming, the number of extreme fire days could double.

Some species are shifting to cooler latitudes or higher elevations. But most will struggle to keep up with the unprecedented rate of warming. Critical thresholds in many natural systems are likely to be exceeded as global warming reaches 1.5℃. At 2℃ and beyond, we’re likely to see the complete loss of coral reefs, and inundation of iconic ecosystems such as the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park.

At 3℃ of global warming, Australia’s present-day ecological systems would be unrecognisable. The first documented climate-related global extinction of a mammal, the Bramble Cay melomys from the Torres Strait, is highly unlikely to be the last. Climate change is predicted to increase extinction rates by several orders of magnitude.

Degradation of Australia’s unique ecosystems will harm the tourism and recreation industries, as well as our food security, health and culture.

There are ways to reduce the climate risk for ecosystems – many of which also benefit humans. For example, preserving and restoring mangroves protects our coasts from storms, increases carbon storage and retains fisheries habitat.




Read more:
Click through the tragic stories of 119 species still struggling after Black Summer in this interactive (and how to help)


orange-bellied parrot
Climate change will accelerate species extinctions. Pictured: the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot.
Shutterstock

2. Food production

Australian agriculture and food security already face significant risks from droughts, heatwaves, fires, floods and invasive species. At 2℃ or more of global warming, rainfall will decline and droughts in areas such as southeastern and southwestern Australia will intensify. This will reduce water availability for irrigated agriculture and increase water prices.

Heat stress affects livestock welfare, reproduction and production. Projected temperature and humidity changes suggest livestock will experience many more heat stress days each year. More frequent storms and heavy rainfall are likely to worsen erosion on grazing land and may lead to livestock loss from flooding.

Heat stress and reduced water availability will also make farms less profitable. A 3℃ global temperature increase would reduce yields of key crops by between 5% and 50%. Significant reductions are expected in oil seeds (35%), wheat (18%) and fruits and vegetables (14%).

Climate change also threatens forestry in hotter, drier regions such as southwestern Australia. There, the industry faces increased fire risks, changed rainfall patterns and growing pest populations. In cooler regions such as Tasmania and Gippsland, forestry production may increase as the climate warms. Existing plantations would change substantially under 3℃ warming.

As ocean waters warm, distributions and stock levels of commercial fish species are continuing to change. This will curb profitability. Many aquaculture fisheries may fundamentally change, relocate or cease to exist.

These changes may cause fisheries workers to suffer unemployment, mental health issues (potentially leading to suicides) and other problems. Strategic planning to create new business opportunities in these regions may reduce these risks.




Read more:
Australia’s farmers want more climate action – and they’re starting in their own (huge) backyards


Farmer with sheep on dusty farm
Under climate change, drought will badly hurt farm profitability.
Shutterstock

3. Cities and towns

Almost 90% of Australians live in cities and towns and will experience climate change in urban environments.

Under a sea level rise of 1 metre by the end of the century – a level considered plausible by federal officials – between 160,000 and 250,000 Australian properties and infrastructure are at risk of coastal flooding.

Strategies to manage the risk include less construction in high-risk areas, and protecting coastal land with sea walls, sand dunes and mangroves. But some coastal areas may have to be abandoned.

Extreme heat, bushfires and storms put strain on power stations and infrastructure. At the same time, more energy is needed for increased air conditioning use. Much of Australia’s electricity generation relies on ageing and unreliable coal-fired power stations. Extreme weather can also disrupt and damage the oil and gas industries. Diversifying energy sources and improving infrastructure will be important to ensure reliable energy supplies.

The insurance and financial sector is becoming increasingly aware of climate risk and exposure. Insurance firms face increased claims due to climate-related disasters including floods, cyclones and mega-fires. Under some scenarios, one in every 19 property owners face unaffordable insurance premiums by 2030. A 3℃ world would render many more properties and businesses uninsurable.

Cities and towns, however, can be part of the climate solution. High-density urban living leads to a lower per capita greenhouse gas emission “footprint”. Also, innovative solutions are easier to implement in urban environments.

Passive cooling techniques, such as incorporating more plants and street trees during planning, can reduce city temperatures. But these strategies may require changes to stormwater management and can take time to work.




Read more:
When climate change and other emergencies threaten where we live, how will we manage our retreat?


People photograph pool fallen onto beach after storm
Extreme storms will continue to violently reshape our coastlines.
David Moir/ AAP

4. Human health and well-being

A 3℃ world threatens human health, livelihoods and communities. The elderly, young, unwell, and those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds are at most risk.

Heatwaves on land and sea are becoming longer, more frequent and severe. For example, at 3℃ of global warming, heatwaves in Queensland would happen as often as seven times a year, lasting 16 days on average. These cause physiological heat stress and worsen existing medical conditions.

Bushfire-related health impacts are increasing, causing deaths and exacerbating pre-existing conditions such as heart and lung disease. Tragically, we saw this unfold during Black Summer. These extreme conditions will increase at 2℃ and further at 3℃, causing direct and indirect physical and mental health issues.

Under 3℃ warming, climate damage to businesses will likely to lead to increased unemployment and possibly higher suicide rates, mental health issues and health issues relating to heat stress.

At 3°C global warming, many locations in Australia would be very difficult to inhabit due to projected water shortages.

As weather patterns change, transmission of some infectious diseases, such as Ross River virus, will become more intense. “Tropical” diseases may spread to more temperate areas across Australia.

Strategies exist to help mitigate these effects. They include improving early warning systems for extreme weather events and boosting the climate resilience of health services. Nature-based solutions, such as increasing green spaces in urban areas, will also help.




Read more:
How does bushfire smoke affect our health? 6 things you need to know


Smoke shrouds Parliament House
Air quality in Canberra was the worst in the world after the Black Summer fires.
Lukas Coch/AAP

How to avoid catastrophe

The report acknowledges that limiting global temperatures to 1.5℃ this century is now extremely difficult. Achieving net-zero global emissions by 2050 is the absolute minimum required to to avoid the worst climate impacts.

Australia is well positioned to contribute to this global challenge. We have a well-developed industrial base, skilled workforce and vast sources of renewable energy.

But Australia must also pursue far more substantial emissions reduction. Under the Paris deal, we’ve pledged to reduce emissions by 26-28% between 2005 and 2030. Given the multiple and accelerating climate threats Australia faces, we must scale up this pledge. We must also display the international leadership and collaboration required to set Earth on a safer climate trajectory.

Our report recommends Australia immediately do the following:

  1. join global leaders in increasing actions to urgently tackle and solve climate change
  2. develop strategies to meet the challenges of extreme events that are increasing in intensity, frequency and scale
  3. improve our understanding of climate impacts, including tipping points and the compounding effects of multiple stressors at global warming of 2℃ or more
  4. systematically explore how food production and supply systems should prepare for climate change
  5. better understand the impacts and risks of climate change for the health of Australians
  6. introduce policies to deliver deep and rapid cuts in emissions across the economy
  7. scale up the development and implementation of low- to zero-emissions technologies
  8. review Australia’s capacity and flexibility to take up innovations and technology breakthroughs for transitioning to a low-emissions future
  9. develop a better understanding of climate solutions through dialogue with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – particularly strategies that helped people manage Australian ecosystems for tens of thousands of years
  10. continue to build adaptation strategies and greater commitment for meeting the challenges of change already in the climate system.

We don’t have much time to avert catastrophe. This decade must be transformational, and one where we choose a safer future.

The report upon which this article is based, The Risks to Australia of a 3°C Warmer World, was authored and reviewed by 21 experts.




Read more:
Climate crisis: keeping hope of 1.5°C limit alive is vital to spurring global action


The Conversation


Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Professor, The University of Queensland and Lesley Hughes, Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Continue ReadingSeriously ugly: here’s how Australia will look if the world heats by 3°C this century

Commentary and analysis of recent political events

Number of homeless in England has risen for 3 years in a row, report says

Homelessness has increased for three consecutive years, partly because of housing shortages and cuts to benefits, with an estimated 185,000 people a year now affected in England, a report says.

Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Crisis found almost one in 10 people experience homelessness at some point in their life, with one in 50 experiencing it in the last five years.

Responding to the report, Emma Reynolds, the shadow housing minister, accused David Cameron of breaking his promises to tackle homelessness and get Britain building.

“Homelessness has risen every year under this government, the number of families with children living in bed and breakfasts is at a 10-year high and house-building is at its lowest in peacetime since the 1920s,” she said.

Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, urged the government to address a chronic lack of affordable housing and consider the impact of its cuts to housing benefit, such as the bedroom tax, welfare cap and shared accommodation rate.

Image of Accident and emergencyA&E Winter Crisis: Patients Wait 12 Hours

Hundreds of patients are being forced to wait more than four hours to be seen by accident and emergency departments as the winter crisis begins.

It is the first time since April that emergency departments have struggled to hit their four-hour targets as admissions to A&E hit the highest level since data started being collected in November 2010.

According to NHS England figures, 3,678 patients across the country were forced to wait between four and 12 hours for treatment.

Five patients were not seen for more than 12 hours last week – the busiest week of the year with 415,000 people visiting A&E departments.

Waiting times were worst in major A&E wards where just 92.2% of patients were seen within four hours.

Free-Market Ideology: The Destruction of Lives

The over-policing of America

BoJo the bozo: Cycling safety campaigners slam Boris Johnson over lack of helmet and hi-viz 

Idiot Johnson is not the only one setting a poor example. As a cyclist, I advise you to wear a helmet as I was advised by my GP (doctor). If you fall from a bike, you’re falling six feet or so possibly with your head impacting the ground. Even presidents can have a ‘bicycle accident’.

Continue ReadingCommentary and analysis of recent political events

Want to make a worthwhile donation this Solstice?

I’m going to suggest some worthwhile causes for donations here.

< more may appear here >

I am willing to receive anonymous donations or bequests. Bequests are ok because I can’t serve or be seen to serve somebody who is dead. It’s – of course – up to you to decide if I’m a worthy cause or not. I’m advised that used, unmarked notes are a good way to ensure anonymity.

Image of a Hunter 19 sailing boat

What I’d really like is a small sailing boat – something that I can learn to sail in but that can also be sailed long distances single-handedly. A nice Hunter 19 sailing boat (like this one [25/12/13 I’ve come to realise that this is far from an ideal trailer-sailer because of that fin keel and would avoid it. Imagine trying to launch that from a launching ramp. The one in the image above is fine.]) with outboard, etc on a trailer would be ideal and not too expensive. A Hunter 19 has crossed the Atlantic. I’m sure that it could be delivered anonymously on a trailer.

Continue ReadingWant to make a worthwhile donation this Solstice?
  • Post author:
  • Post category:NHS
  • Post comments:0 Comments