Countries around the world are failing to live up to their commitments to fight climate change, making way for a chaotic future with more intense flooding, wildfires, drought, heat waves, and species extinction.
A new report issued by the United Nations assesses the progress of countries’ past emissions commitments. The annual climate conference COP is quickly approaching next month, and frankly, most countries have failed in their plans.
A mere 26 of 193 countries that agreed last year to step up their actions have followed through with more ambitious plans. The top two polluters in the world, China and the United States have taken some action but have not pledged more this year. Climate negotiations between the two have been frozen for months.
Without drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the planet is on track to warm drastically over the climate goal to avoid absolute climate catastrophe.
The report says the planet is set to warm by an average of 2.1 to 2.9 degrees Celsius, far higher than the goal of 1.5 degrees set by the Paris agreement in 2015.
This drastically passes the threshold beyond which scientists say the likelihood of catastrophic climate impacts significantly increases.
Every fraction of a degree of warming means tens of millions of people would be exposed to life-threatening climate change, including heat waves, food shortage, water scarcity, coastal flooding, and more. Millions more animals would vanish.
The report was released by the U.N. Less than two weeks before nations are set to gather at the COP climate talks in Egypt to discuss unfulfilled promises and take stock of the fight to stave off environmental catastrophe.
War in Europe, an international energy crisis, global inflation and political turmoil in countries like Britain and Brazil have distracted leaders and complicated cooperative efforts to tackle climate change.
At last year’s global climate summit in Glasgow, countries pledged to redouble their efforts to cut the emissions from burning oil, gas, and coal that are dangerously heating the planet.
Countries also agreed to increase funding for technologies to help developing economies transition away from fossil fuels to wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.
The new report shows the world is not on track and has not lived up to its promises.