Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Scientists foresee 'untold suffering', another climate record falls

Marlowe HOOD, Elizabeth DONOVAN
,AFP•November 6, 2019

More than 11,000 scientists warned Tuesday of "untold suffering" due to global warming, even as another team said Paris carbon-cutting pledges are "too little, too late".

The European Union, meanwhile, confirmed that last month was the warmest October ever registered, fast on heels of a record September and the hottest month ever in July.

Three-quarters of national commitments under the Paris climate accord to curb greenhouse gases will not even slow the accelerating pace of global warming, according to a report from five senior scientists.

The sobering assessment came a day after President Donald Trump formally notified the United Nations of the US withdrawal from the 2015 Paris climate pact, triggering concerns of how other nations might react.

"With few exceptions, the pledges of rich, middle-income and poor nations are insufficient to address climate change," said Robert Watson, who chaired both the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the UN's science body for biodiversity.


Just over half of greenhouse gas emissions from power, industry, agriculture and deforestation -- the main drivers of global warming -- came from four nations last year: China, the United States, India and Russia.

Accounting for 13.1 percent of the total, the US has turned its back on the Paris deal. [The U.S. has less than 4% of the world population, so causes much more than its share of greenhouse gas emissions. And since so many of U.S. products come from China, we are actually even more disproportionately responsible.]


At 29 percent of the global total, China alone pumps out more CO2 than the next three nations combined, though about 13 percent of those emissions are generated by exports destined for rich nations, recent research has shown.


Among major economic blocs, only the European Union, with its 28 member states, got a passing mark.

"The EU is clearly in the lead in trying to address the climate crisis," Watson said.

The emissions of the world's poorest nations have been and continue to be negligible, but steps must be taken today to shape their energy futures.

"Sooner or later, they will start to grow, and we don't want them to become dependent on cheap fossil fuel energy," Watson noted.

"They need financial and technical assistance."


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