A recent report by a think tank and the World Bank found that, in 2030, global CO2 emissions will peak at a level far above the pre-industrial era, and that, by then, it will be more than enough to push the global temperature rise to catastrophic levels.
The report was issued just as the World Climate Change Conference in Paris was about to begin, and as many countries are considering whether to join the Paris agreement.
According to the think tank, the economic benefits from the Paris Agreement are “much greater than any economic cost”.
The authors of the report said that by 2030, if all countries follow the Paris deal, CO2 will be enough to raise global temperatures by 2C above pre-Industrial Revolution levels, which would mean the world’s population will be 3.5 times as big.
“Climate change will have a profound impact on the global economy, creating and sustaining jobs, providing food security and raising living standards, and will have major social and economic costs that are far greater than the economic costs,” said the report by the Global Institute for Climate Change Policy (GICP).
“These effects will be even more severe if we don’t act soon.”
Even if we were to keep to the Paris climate agreement, our economic well-being would be substantially reduced by the emissions that we are already producing,” said David Ehrlich, the lead author of the GICP report.
Ehrlich was responding to a letter from a group of academics who wrote to the US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, warning that if the US does not join the agreement, it could lead to the end of the world as we know it.
Power responded to the letter, saying that the US would take a “diligence-based approach” to climate change, and would work with countries that wanted to join.
She added that if “the United States did not take a leadership role in the Paris process” it could lose billions of dollars a year in aid, and it could end up “making life harder” for many other countries.”
We know that the costs associated with the climate change process are going to be far greater, and we are committed to ensuring that our contributions to the international community are fully reflected,” Power said.
The letter also pointed out that many other developing countries have already signed the Paris accord.
It said that, for example, Indonesia is already making progress on its emissions targets.”
The United States is not alone in failing to make substantial commitments to address the risks of climate change,” the letter said.
Power’s response is likely to be a signal to other countries that, as the head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), she has the power to decide whether to sign the Paris Accord.
In fact, she already has the right to make such a decision, as UNFCCC rules require a two-thirds majority vote of the UN General Assembly, which will not be reached until 2017.
If she does not sign the agreement this year, the US could be forced to leave the deal altogether, and potentially to withdraw from the entire international climate agreement.
However, Power said that the letter was a sign of the US government’s commitment to the accord, and said that “this letter is not about us.
It is about the world”.
The UNFCC is expected to meet in Bonn in November for its first meeting since the Paris negotiations began.
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