Not helping the cause: Growing demand for oil – particularly in India, China and the US – is pushing the world further away from the all-important Paris targets | Image credit: USAToday

US, China, India halving emissions not enough to meet Paris goals

A study published in journal Earth’s Future says global temperature rise would “far exceed” the Paris targets even if the biggest emitters, the US, the EU, China and India halved their emissions “each decade” from 2020-2050. The study suggests that to meet the Paris goals, richer countries must commit to developing breakthrough, “zero to negative carbon emissions technologies” for use of developing countries.

A Carbon Brief animation showing cumulative greenhouse gas emissions of countries since 1750 showed that the US was “the baddest” greenhouse gas emitter of the world since the industrial revolution. Its Democratic presidential hopeful, Beto O’Rourke, has, however, detailed a climate action plan for the US that calls for $5 trillion in investments for clean energy and net zero emissions by 2050.

US owes world $1 trillion in failed climate commitments

Foreign Policy has argued that the United States owes the world $1 trillion for failing to meet its international climate change agreements. The US made four international commitments to cut emissions (Rio 1992, Kyoto 1997, Copenhagen 2009, and Paris 2015), yet in each case it failed to turn those commitments into policy, and steadily increased its emissions. The US has emitted around 20 billion tonnes of CO2 more than it committed since 1992.

By 2025, it will likely overshoot the target by another 5 billion tonnes. The 25-billion-tonne surplus “amounts to more than the total Chinese, Indian, and European Union emissions last year. It will cause more than $1 trillion in damage to the global economy over the coming years”.

In 2018, 30 football fields of forest lost per minute

A new study from Global Forest Watch reported 12 million hectares of loss of forest in 2018 — equivalent to losing 30 football fields per minute, reported the BBC. The destruction was lower than 2016 and 2017 when dry conditions resulted in larger forest fires, but 2018’s loss of forests was the worst since 2002.

Extinction Rebellion claims partial victory

Climate protesters will rally outside British Parliament on Wednesday as Labour launches a bid to declare “climate emergency” In a direct impact of Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) London roadblocks, demanding climate inaction. Protest groups Momentum and Extinction Rebellion will unite outside Parliament to push government to support Labour’s bid. Earlier, teen icon Sweden’s Greta Thunberg admonished British MPs over taking selfies with protesters. The Welsh government has already declared a “climate emergency” hoping it would trigger “a wave of (climate) action”.

The Welsh Government’s Lesley Griffiths said climate change threatens Wales’ health, economy, infrastructure and natural environment, reported the BBC.

New York, Washington announce sweeping green reforms

Glass buildings that have formed a part of the iconic New York skyline will now be banned if they don’t adhere to a city-wide ‘Green New Deal’ announced by NYC mayor Bill de Blasio this week. This plan, called OneNYC 2050, aims to cut the city’s greenhoe gas emissions by nearly 30% by 2030 and eventually achieve carbon neutrality and 100% clean energy by 2050.

Washington’s state senate passed a bill which stipulates 100% of Washington’s electricity will have to be carbon-neutral by 2030 and carbon-free by 2045 and state utilities will have to phase out coal power as early as 2025.

Bloomberg pumps in millions to bridge US funding gap towards Paris agreement

Billionaire and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg will donate $5.5 million of his own money to the UN Climate Change body to make up for the lack of enthusiasm shown by the Donald Trump administration. The funds will be used to cover the costs of climate negotiations and related initiatives in the private sector. Under the Trump administration, the US is woefully behind as far as its monetary contribution to the UN climate body goes.

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