Countries Claim Reduction of Emissions; Is It True?

The world, as we all know it, is already suffering from the adverse effects of climate change. Unless we make drastic changes to corporate and government goals, there’s pretty much nothing we can do to mitigate it. The UN Conference on Climate Change is supposed to bring together the world’s nations to discuss the climate crisis. Instead, the gathering is being seen as a political farce, a political puppet show that has the spotlight on an artificial reef in the Antarctic and a paper signing by the Prime Minister of Australia, rather than his people.

As the UN Climate Change Conference heats up, so does the debate over whether the world’s nations should start making genuine commitments to reducing emissions. At the heart of the debate is a paper signed by the United States on behalf of five other countries that is supposed to bring them to the table. The paper, which states that the US is committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in the coming decade, is considered the most important of the five papers set to be presented to the conference.

The United States, along with the rest of the world, must submit a concrete plan to reduce emissions by 2050 if we are to have any chance of limiting global warming to 2.5 degrees Celsius, the internationally-accepted threshold for reducing emissions. The goal of the Paris Climate Agreement was to keep temperature increases below 3.6 degrees Celsius (4.7 Fahrenheit), ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. Right now, the world is on course for a 3.5-degree Celsius rise.

Unless emissions are drastically cut, the world’s climate will only get worse. The UN’s climate policy, the Paris Climate Agreement, has so far failed to hold the increase in temperature below 2.5 degrees Celsius, even as the world has experienced record-breaking heat waves and hurricanes. Some countries have actively flouted the rules of the Paris Climate Agreement. Some, such as the United States, have not significantly reduced emissions.

The rest have slashed emissions substantially. Some countries, like Australia, have adopted policies that have led to massive reductions in air pollution. The non-governmental organization World Resources Institute has estimated that by 2070, the world’s nations will have to save 18.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent to the emissions of 1.1 million cars.

Some of the biggest climate impacts are being driven by human behavior. The United States is leading the world in per-person carbon emissions, according to a study by the World Resources Institute. The United States, in fact, emits more than any other country, the study found. The US emissions are likely to increase under a worst-case scenario, with the US accounting for 13.4 percent of the world’s carbon emissions in the coming century.Although there are some signs that the US is trying to reduce emissions, the country has not yet taken on a serious plan. A recent Brookings Institute study found that the US must address climate change with a budget of $9.3 trillion to avoid the worst-case scenario. The US is the world’s fifth-largest economy and the largest and third-largest nation in the world.

The worst-case scenario? Climate change. That’s the cost of business without checks.

 

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