UN lambasts “catastrophic” lack of action as climate change hits 800,000-year peak
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UN lambasts “catastrophic” lack of action as climate change hits 800,000-year peak

The United Nations (UN) has released a warning that there is a “catastrophic” gap between what needs to be done to tackle climate change and what governments and companies are actually doing. The warning came alongside a separate announcement from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) that claimed carbon dioxide levels are the highest they have been in “at least” 800,000 years.

In a report, the UN said that, despite current plans to take climate change in hand, we are still on course to see a 3-degree Celsius rise in temperature by the end of the decade. This will not only break the 2-degree target laid out in the Paris climate accord, but also herald in an era of “deadly changes in the climate across the world.”

Speaking to these findings, Edgar Gutierrez-Espeleta, Costa Rica’s environment minister, and the head of the 2017 UN Environment Assembly, said: “The Paris agreement boosted climate action, but momentum is clearly faltering. We face a stark choice: up our ambition, or suffer the consequences.”

Meanwhile, the WMO said that concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide had increased at a “record speed” in 2016. They now average 403.3 parts per million, up from 400 parts per million a year earlier. The organization warned that this implied “severe ecological and economic disruptions.”

Contributing to this rise in carbon dioxide levels were extremely strong El Nino effects in 2015 and 2016, which muted the planet’s ability to soak up the gas. WMO secretary general Peter Taalas said in a statement that: “Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, we will be heading for dangerous temperature increases by the end of this century.”

Disclosure

The opinions in this article do not reflect those of Dominion Fund Management Limited, and in the instance of any forward-looking statements, these should not be construed as advice. Additionally, Dominion holds a number of companies in its Global Trends Managed Fund that are actively engaged in the fight against climate change.


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