And Global Penalties
We all know that the Paris Climate Agreement is soon becoming one of the biggest failures of our time.
None of the big polluters, despite their pledges and PR campaigns, are on track to keep global temperatures rising 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
Crossing this threshold also means there’s no going back. We’ll be stuck in a screwed-up planet, waiting for Elon to colonize Mars.
But, just how bad is it really?
If not 1.5°C, then what’s the next possible target?
Given that there’s only a 0.5% chance of you being from The Gambia or Morocco, your country’s Paris report card looks something like this.
The Gambia and Morocco are thus far the only countries that can brag about their Paris report cards. Their efforts have been rated by the Climate Action Tracker as “compatible” with the Paris Climate Agreement. That’s only a step away from being rated as a “role model.”
Yet, ironically, their carbon footprints aren’t footprints at all.
Only 15 Countries are Responsible for Over 70% of Global Carbon Emissions
This was based on a report published in 2017.
That same year, a climate risk assessment told a different story.
A quick comparison shows how none of the mega polluters have made it into the list.
None of them were as affected as these countries.
Such is the unfairness of climate change.
You can see my country right at the top, second only to Puerto Rico. We, collectively with 179 others, belong to the “Rest of the World,” and we are only responsible for less than 30% of global carbon emissions.
It’s like paying a heavy rent — only, it isn’t your rent, but your neighbors’.
Actions are taken, alright.
China is investing “heavily” in solar. UK in wind. Germany in hydrogen. Right?
Right. But also, wrong. These efforts are by no means closer to the “urgent and dramatic” actions required by the Paris Agreement.
The Climate Action Tracker, an independent scientific analysis, is reliably and frequently tracking and updating climate actions by country.
Here’s a sneak peek.
1. China — Highly Insufficient.
2. The United States — Critically Insufficient
3. India— 2°C Compatible
4. Russia — Critically insufficient
5. Japan — Highly insufficient
7. Iran — Agreement not ratified.
8. Saudi Arabia — Critically Insufficient
9. South Korea—Highly Insuffient
12. Indonesia—Highly Insufficient
14. South Africa —Highly Insufficient
15. Turkey— Critically insufficient
Here’s Where We are Headed
As we head towards a 4+°C of warming, we might as well be prepared for the worst.
We are still not late though. With immediate and dramatic action, we might be able to turn things around.
And avoid hitting the iceberg. The steering wheel is still in our hands. If we stick to the threshold set by the Paris Climate Agreement, we might manage to stay afloat.
Here’s a glimpse into a future that is said to unfold before our very own eyes, within our lifetime.
- Extreme heat waves will become more common across all parts of the world. Droughts will severely impact crop yields.
- Corals won’t stick around for long. A warming of 2°C alone would be destructive enough to wipe them out — turning 25% of all marine species homeless.
- At 3°C of warming, most of the coastal cities will be underwater — creating millions of climate refugees who will have no place to go. The worst hit would be the poorest, all the while having contributed the least to the crisis.
- Massive-scale biodiversity losses would be inevitable. The most distinct species to have ever roamed the earth will be gone — and once they are gone, they will be gone forever.
The list can go on forever. It’s pretty bad, especially when some scientists fear that they’re underestimating the pace of climate change.
If there ever was a time to change, that time is now.