Last updated December 9, 2019 at 4:01 pm
The World Meteorological Organization warns we are “nowhere near on track” to meet the Paris Agreement target – and the experts agree.
Why This Matters: The Earth keeps heating and we’re driving faster than natural levels.
The last decade is on course to be the warmest year on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with 2019 also tipped to also be either the second or third hottest year.
If we don’t take urgent action there will be impacts on human wellbeing
“If we do not take urgent climate action now, then we are heading for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by the end of the century, with ever more harmful impacts on human wellbeing,” says WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. “We are nowhere near on track to meet the Paris Agreement target.”
Australian scientists agree.
“There is no way for Earth to stay below 3°C without large scale emissions capture and storage, in addition to massive emissions reduction.”
The news came just as data from the latest Global Carbon Budget was released showing that carbon emissions are also set to reach a new peak in 2019.
By the end of 2019 carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels are expected to reach 36.8 billion tons, despite a drop in emissions from coal.
According to Global Carbon Budget report author Pep Canadell from CSIRO: “Every single additional year of emissions growth it makes it significantly harder achieving the goals of the Paris achievement.”
The growth in emissions is slowing
However, he says there is a ‘better part of the bad news”; the growth in emissions is slowing.
Emissions from fossil fuels grew just 0.6 per cent in 2019, about a third of the growth rate we have seen over the previous years.
The US and EU led the way, recording a 1.7 per cent drop in emissions. Emissions from India are set to rise by 1.8 per cent in 2019 however this is a vast improvement on the 8 per cent rise they saw in 2018. China’s emissions continued to grow by 2.6 per cent in 2019, a rate similar to growth over the previous two years.
“Australia mirrors what we see in most developed countries, so a transition in the energy sector away from fossil fuels and towards renewables,” says Jotzo. “Where we differ is that obviously we’re a large resource economy and resource exporter.”
Globally, coal emissions decreased while oil increased, but it is the growth in emissions from natural gas that showed the biggest increase. They have been growing steadily and almost uninterrupted for over half a century, and have a projected growth of 2.6 per cent in 2019.
“The natural gas growth, it is actually the single most important driver of this year’s growth in global CO2 emissions,” says Canadell.
Click here to read the full AusSMC Expert Reaction to the WMO report.