We're further off track than ever in limiting global warming

The bad outweighs the good at the UN climate talks

By Lindsay Abrams

Published November 20, 2013 2:16PM (EST)

Ostensibly, the world's governments are spending two weeks in Poland working out a way to limit global warming to 2.0C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels. In reality, according to a new report, we're getting further off track. From Reuters:

A Climate Action Tracker compiled by scientists said the world was headed for a temperature rise of 3.7 degrees Celsius (6.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times by 2100, against 3.1C (5.8F) if governments stuck to promised cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

"We are seeing a major risk of a further downward spiral in ambition, a retreat from action, and a re-carbonization of the energy system led by the use of coal," said Bill Hare, director of Climate Analytics.

Not helping the matter are Japan, which revised its goal of a 25 decrease in emissions by 2020 to a "more realistic" 3.8 percent and Australia, which, despite a promise to reduce emissions by 5 percent, is projected to actually increase them 12 percent. Mother Jones and Grist have more on the very counter-productive actions taken by those two countries, along with Poland and Canada, which, according to the report, outweigh positive signals from the U.S. and China.

“Instead of strong domestic policies to meet ambitious pledges, we’re seeing a weakening of action, and a degradation of pledges that sees the highest 2020 emissions levels the Climate Action Tracker has ever seen,” said Marion Vieweg, of Climate Analytics, in a statement.

Lindsay Abrams

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Australia Climate Change Climate Talks Global Warming Greenhouse-gas Emissions Japan