Greenhouse gas emissions to rise 10%, UN warns


Global temperatures will increase by as much as 2.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the century under current conditions, according to a UN report released Wednesday, as scientists warn continued insufficient climate action will accelerate the effects of climate change to catastrophic levels.

Wind turbines, power station and mixed industrial plant in the Maas Estuary, approaching Rotterdam Container Port, the Netherlands. (Photo by: Planet One Images/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The study comes amid devastating wildfires this year that have scorched parts of Europe, as well as the West Coast and Rocky Mountains, sweltering summer heat waves and worldwide droughts and accelerated sea-level rise—all of which were made worse by rising temperatures accelerated by climate change, scientists say. In the U.S., White House officials estimate the Inflation Reduction Act passed this summer will reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 (from 2005 levels). Scientists, however, doubt countries’ actions are enough to meet the Paris Climate Agreement’s landmark goal of holding global temperatures to 1.5-degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Republican lawmakers slammed the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $360 billion to address climate change through measures to produce green energy, arguing it will hurt American energy producers at a time when people are struggling with rising gas prices. In an effort to gain support of moderate Democrats, including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, Democratic lawmakers inserted provisions into the landmark legislation for investment in fossil fuels and subsidies for new pipelines—a move that has also sparked pushback from environmentalists, who claim it will help fossil fuel producers operate even longer.

A study published in August in Nature Communications found major fossil fuel companies are not doing enough to curb emissions either, finding their plans are “incompatible” with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. The three companies analyzed in the report—British Petroleum, Equinor and Shell—have all set net-zero emissions goals, with Equinor and Shell planning to achieve it by 2050 while BP hopes to achieve it by 2050.

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