Earth’s temperature in 2020 reached a record high in 3 million years. Current commitments by countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not enough to prevent a climate disaster, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres states.
He said: “Last year was yet another unprecedented period of extreme weather and climate disasters. Carbon dioxide concentrations again rose to a new high – 148 % above pre-industrial levels”.
According to the Secretary General, “this is the highest level for 3 million years. Three million years ago, the Earth’s temperature was as much as 3 degrees hotter and sea levels some 15 metres higher”.
“Under current commitments, including the recent ones, we are still heading for a disastrous temperature rise of 2.4 degrees by the end of the century. We stand indeed at the edge of the abyss”, he warned.
Guterres believes that if countries will work together, world can avert the worst impacts of climate disruption. He insisted that we have to use the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic “to steer us on a cleaner, greener path”.
Official adds that addressing climate change requires an equal balance between mitigation and adaptation, both of which have financial and technological support for developing countries. This will allow both developed and developing countries to fully mobilize to achieve global net zero emissions by the middle of the century and strengthen resilience to future change.
Let’s add, that US President Joe Biden said the US intends to reduce carbon emissions by at least half by 2030, and achieve zero emissions by the middle of the century.
According to Biden, America currently accounts for less than 15% of global emissions.
Speaking at a summit of climate leaders in April, Chinese leader Xi Jinping reaffirmed China’s intention to reach zero carbon emissions by 2060.
In 2020, scientists recorded the highest temperature on Earth. 54.4 ° C was recorded in Death Valley National Park, California.
Cutting methane emissions is quickest way to slow global heating – UN report
Fossil fuels, cattle and rotting waste produce greenhouse gas responsible for 30% of global heating. Slashing methane emissions is vital to solving the climate crisis and rapidly curbing the extreme weather already hitting people across the world today, according to a new UN report.
As methane is a particularly potent greenhouse gas, a UN agency has recommended urgent cuts this decade to slow global warming. Using cost-neutral and low-cost tech, the world could reduce methane by 45 per cent by 2030, a new report concludes.
In 2020 there was a record rise in the amount of the powerful greenhouse gas emitted by the fossil fuel industry, cattle and rotting waste. Cutting it is the strongest action available to slow global heating in the near term, Inger Andersen, the UN’s environment chief, said.
The report found that methane emissions could be almost halved by 2030 using existing technology and at reasonable cost. A significant proportion of the actions would actually make money, such as capturing methane gas leaks at fossil fuel sites.
Achieving the cuts would avoid nearly 0.3C of global heating by 2045 and keep the world on track for the Paris climate agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C. Methane cuts also immediately reduce air pollution and would prevent many premature deaths and lost crops.
Methane is 84 times more powerful in trapping heat than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period and has caused about 30% of global heating to date. But it breaks down in the atmosphere within about a decade, unlike CO2, which remains in the air for centuries.
Cutting carbon emissions remains essential in ending the climate emergency, but some experts liken reducing CO2 in the air to the slow process of stopping a supertanker, whereas lowering methane is like cutting the engine on a speedboat and bringing it to a rapid halt.
Prof Drew Shindell, at Duke University, who led the UN report, said for the Guardian: “We’re seeing so many aspects of climate change manifest themselves in the real world faster than our projections,” such as increasing heatwaves, wildfires, droughts and intense storms. “We don’t have a lot we can do about that, other than this powerful lever on near-term climate of reducing methane. We should do this for the wellbeing of everybody on the planet over the next 20 to 30 years.”
Scientist states that methane emissions are increasing faster now than at any time in nearly 40 years of the observational record. “Despite COVID-19 methane shot upwards – it’s going in the wrong direction very, very rapidly”, he said.
Methane is 84 times more potent than carbon and doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere before it breaks down. This makes it a critical target for reducing global warming more quickly while simultaneously working to reduce other greenhouse gases.
More than half of global methane emissions come fromoil and gas extraction in the fossil fuel industry, landfills and wastewater from the waste sector, and livestock emissions from manure and enteric fermentation in the agricultural sector.
The world could slash methane emissions by up to 45% this decade, or 180 million tons a year, according to the U.N.’s Global Methane Assessment. Such a target will avoid nearly 0.3° C of warming by 2045 and help limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a goal of the Paris climate accord.
A new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters also said that cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, agriculture and other human sources could slow global warming by as much as 30%.
Oil and gas extraction, processing and distribution account for 23% of emissions, while coal mining comprises roughly 12% of emissions, the report said. Agriculture and livestock emissions from manure and enteric fermentation account for about 32% of methane emissions.
Countries such as Russia, France and Argentina called for curbing methane emissions at the global leaders’ climate summit hosted by President Joe Biden last month.
In the U.S., the Senate recently restored an Obama-era regulation designed to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas fields by requiring companies to monitor and repair methane leaks from pipelines, storage facilities and wells.