From ‘Crisis’ to ‘Disaster’: UN Climate Report Bears Dire Warning

Nov 1, 2022

The Gap Between Current Policies and Targets for future CO2 Emissions

The world is falling “far short” of hitting its goals to reduce emissions. The goals were set to stop a “climate disaster.” That's according to the UN’s Emissions Gap 2022 report.

In 2015, 194 nations signed the Paris Climate Accords. They pledged to restrict this century’s global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Experts believed this mark would allow the earth to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Those include rising sea levels, drought, and food shortages. But greenhouse gas emissions are on track to cause a 2.8 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) rise by 2100, the UN report said. The world's wealthiest nations are far from their targets. Those include the US, Russia, and China.

The CEO of Climate Analytics told The Associated Press (AP) that the report shows just how slow countries are to take action. 

Leaders are set to meet this week for a climate summit in Egypt. They're expected to make more promises to cut emissions. Skeptics, though, point out that similar promises were made in 2015. Those have yet to be met. Global crises, they say, chip away at even the best intentions. 

“We’re failing by winning too slowly,” one Stanford University climate scientist told the AP. “COVID stimulus plans and the war in Ukraine have disrupted global energy markets and led some countries (to) revert to coal and other fuels. This can’t continue in a safe climate.”

The Emissions Gap report suggests that, while difficult, it’s still possible to stay at or below the 1.5 degrees target. To do so, global emissions would need to be cut by 43%. 

Based on information in the infographic, current climate policies would lead to a rise in global temperatures of _______ by 2100. (Common Core RI.5.7; RI.6.7)
a. 1.5 degrees Celsius
b. 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit
c. 2.8 degrees Celsius
d. 5 degrees Fahrenheit
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