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Researchers: Climate pledges see world closing on Paris goal

Last Updated May 4, 2021 at 6:27 am EDT

BERLIN — Recent pledges by the United States and other nations could help cap global warming at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, but only if goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050 succeed, scientists said Tuesday.

More than 190 countries agreed in Paris six years ago to keep average temperature increases below that level — ideally no more than 1.5 C (2.7 F) — by 2100 compared to pre-industrial times.

The Climate Action Tracker, compiled by a group of researchers who translate emission pledges into temperature estimates, projects that the world is currently set to overshoot the Paris accord’s target by 0.9 degrees.

But if 131 countries that make up almost three-quarters of global emissions meet their pledged or discussed “net zero” goal, then the 2-degree target could be met, said Niklas Hoehne of the New Climate Institute. That’s 0.1 C cooler than the previous optimistic forecast the group made in December.

Hoehne said U.S. President Joe Biden’s recent ambitious new climate goals had contributed significantly to the revised estimate, along with the European Union, China, Japan and Britain.

But the pledges still fall short and have to be further revised going forward, he said.

“We have to halve global emissions in the next 10 years,” he said.

Asked whether the more ambitious goal of 1.5 C is still within reach, Hoehne said it was technically and politically feasible.

Germany has invited about 40 countries to a virtual meeting this week to discuss further international efforts to curb global warming, ahead of a U.N. summit in Glasgow in November.

Germany’s top court last week ordered the government to set clearer goals for emissions reduction after 2030.

The Associated Press

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