Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions of 40 to 70 per cent by mid-century will be needed to avert the worst of global warming that is already harming all continents, a draft UN report shows.
The 26-page draft sums up three UN scientific reports published over the past year as a guide for almost 200 governments which are due to agree a deal to fight climate change at a summit in Paris in late 2015, writes The Sydney Morning Herald.
he report states that existing national pledges to restrict greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient to limit warming to 2 degrees celsius above pre-industrial times – a ceiling set by the United Nations in 2010 to limit heatwaves, floods, storms and rising seas.
Average global surface temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 degrees since the Industrial Revolution, the draft said.
‘Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to limit warming to 2 degrees C … remain possible, yet will entail substantial technological, economic, institutional, and behavioural challenges,’ according to the draft.
The draft is due for publication in Copenhagen on November 2 after rounds of editing.
Cuts in greenhouse gases, mostly from burning fossil fuels, of between 40 and 70 per cent by 2050 would be needed from 2010 levels to give reasonable chance of staying below 2 degrees, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) draft.
Such a shift would also require a tripling or a quadrupling of the share of low-carbon energies including solar, wind or nuclear power, it said.
The change needed is drastic.
Emissions, lifted by growth in coal-fuelled industries in the emerging economies led by China and India, rose to 49 billion tonnes in 2010 from 40 billion in 2000, writes The Sydney Morning Herald.
The IPCC says it is at least 95 per cent probable that human influences are the main cause of climate change.
But opinion polls show that many people doubt climate change research and believe that natural forces are to blame.
‘Human influence on the climate system is clear, and is estimated to have been the dominant cause of the warming observed since 1950,’ the draft says.
The draft Synthesis Report, dated April 21, merges data from three previous IPCC studies that focused on the science of climate change, the impacts and possible solutions.
It does not include new research.
IPCC spokesman Jonathan Lynn said the draft obtained by Reuters had already ‘undergone thorough revision since the authors met at the end of June/beginning of July,’ writes The Sydney Morning Herald.
A final draft will be sent to governments at the end of August, he said, before editing at the Copenhagen meeting from October 27.
The meeting will round off a year-long cycle of IPCC reports running to thousands of pages by hundreds of experts.
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