Is the World Doing Enough To Tackle Global Warming?

The global temperature of Earth is expected to rise by more than 2 degrees celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, and this can lead to an inundation of large areas of land. Climate change has also been linked to deaths, diseases and suicides, according to many studies.

While many countries have taken concrete steps to tackle the problem, studies and data revealed that a lot more needs to be done, especially by some of the fastest growing economies.

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One of the studies published in the journal Nature Climate Change has revealed that there is a 95 percent chance that the temperature is likely to rise by 2 degrees celsius. The study also reveals that there is only a one percent chance that the warming would be less than 1.5 degrees celsius.

“The likely range of global temperature increase is 2.0-4.9 [degrees Celsius] and our median forecast is 3.2 C,” said Adrian Raftery, author of the study, CNN reported.

“Our model is based on data which already show the effect of existing emission mitigation policies. Achieving the goal of less than 1.5 C warming will require carbon intensity to decline much faster than in the recent past.”

Another study in the same journal analyzed greenhouse gases emission and concluded that even if humans stop using fossil fuels, they still would not be able to stop the heating of the planet by 2 degrees celsius by 2100. The study revealed that if emissions continue for 15 more years, it is likely that the temperature might increase by 3 degrees by 2100.

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“Even if we would stop burning fossil fuels today, then the Earth would continue to warm slowly,” Thorsten Mauritsen, author of the second study told CNN. “It is this committed warming that we estimate.”

According to another study released by the Union of Concerned Scientists last month, cities along the Jersey Shore and in parts of North Carolina, South Louisiana, and neighboring areas that have been known to be vulnerable for years are expected to be made inundated by 2035. 

By 2060, cities like Galveston, Texas, Sanibel Island, Florida, Hilton Head, South Carolina, Ocean City, Maryland, and many others along the Jersey Shore could also become inundated.

According to the list, more than 50 cities with a population of more than 100,000 could be affected by the end of the century. Cities like Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and four of the five boroughs of New York will be inundated.

The study underlines that while the situation is crucial, the U.S. can still make deep cuts in heat-trapping emissions and contribute to global efforts to limit climate change. The study said that if we act today to achieve the temperature and emissions reductions goals as mentioned in the Paris Climate Agreement and succeed in slowing the acceleration of sea level rise, around 380 communities can be saved from climate change effects.

The effects of climate change are not limited the U.S. only. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that nearly 60,000 people have committed suicide in India because of climate change over the last 30 years. Farmers whose harvests fail to take off are left in poverty leading them to commit suicide.

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Several steps have been taken in many countries to deal with the issue. One of the major steps is to put a ban on fossil fuel vehicles. The U.K. is set to ban all petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040. Ministers will unveil a fund of £225 million ($332 million) to help local councils take measures to deal with pollution from diesel vehicles.

“What we’re saying to local authorities is come up with an imaginative solution to these proposals,” said Environment Secretary Michael Gove in July. The automobile companies have also started moving towards cleaner fuel. 

The embrace of electric cars is most in Norway. The country plans to allow only 100 percent electric cars to be sold by 2025,  The Guardian reported. The Netherlands is also planning to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2025. Some federal states in Germany plan to remove these cars by 2030. 

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However, experts are of the view that the efforts taken by the countries are still not enough. Amongst the leading G20 economies Italy, Brazil and France are the closest in meeting the target of keeping the warming to less than 2 degrees celsius by 2100.

Saudi Arabia and the U.S., are at the bottom of the list, Reuters reported. “It’s time for the world’s richest economies … to step up their game on climate action,” said Wael Hmaidan, executive director of the Climate Action Network.