GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) – With promises of a United Nations climate conference, the world could move away from grim scenarios of future global warming even slightly, according to two new preliminary scientific analyzes on Thursday.
Both reports – one from the International Energy Agency and the other from Australian scientists – focused on optimistic scenarios. If all goes well, they said, recent actions will reduce projections made in mid-October by two or three tenths of a degree Celsius (0.3 to 0.5 degree Fahrenheit).
Instead of 2.1 degrees Celsius (3.8 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming since pre-industrial times, analyzes project a warming to 1.8 (3.2 degrees Fahrenheit) or 1.9 degrees (3.4 degrees Fahrenheit). ).
Yet both projections leave the world a long way from the 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming since pre-industrial times that is the goal of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. is already warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit).
The UN has scheduled an announcement on Friday afternoon in the climate talks on the extent to which “the actions announced so far in Glasgow have helped bend the curve”.
“We are now in a slightly more positive outlook for the future,” said University of Melbourne climatologist Malta Meinshausen, whose flash, non-peer reviewed analysis sees 1.9 degrees warming , mainly due to late long-term commitments from India and China.
“It’s still far from 1.5 degrees. We know some ecosystems are going to suffer and we’re going to notice, for example, the coral reefs and the great barrier reef here in Australia (dying) with these temperature levels, ”Meinshausen said in an interview. “It’s just below two degrees. So there is much more to be done.
The energy agency’s analysis took into account India’s announcement of short-term reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and a net zero commitment by 2070 on Monday, as well as commitments from more than 100 countries on Tuesday to reduce the powerful greenhouse gas methane. The intergovernmental agency said this was the first time the projections had fallen below 2 degrees Celsius – a long-standing threshold for tipping points that some scientists believe could lead to even more dangerous and potentially uncontrolled warming .
“If all of these commitments were to be implemented, the temperature rise could be limited to 1.8 degrees Celsius. I think this is a very well celebrated achievement, ”agency chief Fatih Birol told leaders at the Glasgow climate talks called COP26. “Congratulations.”
Potsdam Institute Climate Impact Research Director Johan Rockstrom, who was not part of either research, said that small differences at this temperature level are important: “Every tenth of a degree counts because it gets worse and worse. “
Both teams stress that their projections are based on the most optimistic scenarios possible, using promises of mid-century nations – or in the case of India 2070 – of net zero emissions which are far from being codified in plans or actions.
Scenarios that only consider short-term commitments, not net zero ones, put warming at 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.9 degrees Fahrenheit). So, some outside experts say the new projections should be viewed with caution.
“This optimistic view must be complemented by the short-term view, which points in the opposite direction,” said Niklas Hohne, scientist at the New Climate Institute, who tracks emissions pledges for Climate Action Tracker, which will have its own estimates. in a few days. .
Mohamed Adow, director of the Nairobi-based Power Shift Africa think tank and seasoned observer of climate talks, said it was too early to trust too much of Glasgow’s promises: speed at a COP meeting.
Associated Press reporter Frank Jordans contributed from Glasgow.
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