Optimism of climate negotiations: Lowering projections slightly

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) – With promises of a United Nations climate conference, the world may withdraw slightly from gloomy scenarios of future global warming, according to two new preparatory scientific analyzes on Thursday.

The two reports – one from the International Energy Agency and the other from Australian scientists – focused on optimistic scenarios. If all goes well, they said, recent action will cut two or three tenths of a degree Celsius (0.3 to 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit) from projections made in mid-October.

Instead of 2.1 degrees Celsius (3.8 Fahrenheit) of warming since pre-industrial times, the analyzes project warming at 1.8 (3.2 Fahrenheit) or 1.9 degrees (3.4 Fahrenheit).

However, both projections leave the world far from the 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming since pre-industrial times, which is the goal of the Paris climate agreement in 2015. The planet has already warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) .

The UN has scheduled an announcement for Friday afternoon at a climate negotiation on how “actions announced so far in Glasgow have helped bend the curve.”

“We are now in a slightly more positive outlook for the future,” said Melbourne University climate scientist Malte Meinshausen, whose lightning analysis, unrevised, sees warming at 1.9 degrees, largely due to late long-term promises from India and China.

“It’s still a long way from 1.5 degrees. We know that some of the ecosystems will suffer and we will notice, for example, the coral reefs and the Great Barrier Reef here in Australia (dying) with these temperature levels, ”Meinshausen said in an interview. “It only scratches below two degrees. So there’s a lot more to do. ”

The energy agency’s analysis took into account India’s announcement of short-term carbon dioxide emissions and a promise of a net zero by 2070 on Monday, as well as promises from more than 100 countries on Tuesday to reduce greenhouse gas methane power. The intergovernmental agency said it was the first time projections had fallen below 2 degrees Celsius – a long-term threshold for tipping points, some scientists say, could bring even more dangerous and possibly uncontrolled warming.

“If all these promises were implemented, the temperature rise could be limited to 1.8 degrees Celsius. I think this is a very well-celebrated achievement,” the agency Fatih Birol told leaders at climate negotiations in Glasgow called COP26. “Congratulations.”

Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Johan Rockstrom, who was not part of both studies, said small differences at this temperature level are important: “Every tenth of a degree matters because it gets worse and worse.”

Both teams emphasize that their projections are based on the most optimistic scenarios possible, using the mid-century of nations – or in the case of India 2070 – promises of net zero emissions that are far from codified in plans or actions.

Scenarios that look only at short-term promises, not net-zero, put warming at 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.9 degrees Fahrenheit). So some foreign experts say the new projections should be viewed with caution.

“This optimistic view needs to be complemented with the short-term view that points in the opposite direction,” said Niklas Hohne, a scientist at New Climate Institute who tracks emissions promises for Climate Action Tracker, which will have its own estimates in a few days. .

Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa think tank in Nairobi and a veteran observer on climate negotiations, said it was too early to put too much faith in Glasgow pledges: “These ads can generate headlines but assessing their true value is extremely difficult, especially at. quickly during a COP meeting. “


Associated Press reporter Frank Jordans contributed from Glasgow.


For more AP climate coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/climate.


Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter: @ borenursoj.


The Department of Health and Science of Related Press receives support from the Department of Science Education of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press

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