U.N. Climate Summit Sets Stage For New National Emissions Promises

Environment: NPR


As we've been hearing this morning. World leaders are meeting in New York. Today they are holding a special United Nations Climate Change Summit Twenty twenty as the deadline for countries to make bigger bolder promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but but many of the world's biggest economies are struggling to keep up with their previous promises. NPR's Rebecca Hersher has this carbon report card. Let's start with a couple. Oh basic climate science facts that world leaders are staring down today faction number one. The average temperature on our planet has already increased about one degree Celsius Celsius since Pre Industrial Times co eleven studies global emissions at the World Resources Institute think tank you've seen the Arctic hitting record highs and a scorching watching summer in Europe and the United States leaving hundreds dead and July was the warmest month on record ever globally and this is just one degree Celsius warming storms are getting more frequent and severe sea levels are rising and heat waves and droughts are getting longer which brings us to fax number two if the earth gets one and a half degrees degrees Celsius hotter. All of those things get significantly worse. Many animals go extinct. Many people will be forced to move which is why leaders from nearly two hundred hundred nations are meeting in New York because fact number three right now. The world is on track for about three degrees of warming by the end of the century so yeah it's not good. Angel Shoe is a researcher at Yale and US College in Singapore. I spoke to her via skype and fortunately national governments are really a falling behind when it comes to delivering the ambition and the emissions cuts that we really need to avoid dangerous climate change national governments including the US the second largest greenhouse house gasometer in the world behind China the US has promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions significantly by two thousand twenty five the good news overall carbon emissions. It's have gone down in the last decade mostly because companies stopped burning coal but under the trump administration that trend has slowed what ended up happening in two thousand eighteen gene was a spike in emissions from the United States and that also occurred in China's well so that's what's really worrisome but shoo says those are kind of silver lining the Chinese government government has been investing a lot in renewable energy like solar and hydro power and Electric Public Transit and appears to be planning more and because it's not a democracy the leaders who make climate promises can't be voted out of office and what's really encouraging about China's when the leadership is committed to something they can really follow through India. Yeah has also signalled it might be getting ready to promise big emissions cuts and it's on track to achieve its current emissions promises. Levin says many countries recognize. There's is a lot to gain from burning less coal gas cutting down fewer trees clean water and clean air and more efficient food production there such such tremendous benefits that can be born by climate action which brings us back to the United States. The federal government is currently trying to roll back policies that would control greenhouse gas emissions things like limits on emissions from power plants and oilfields and cars meanwhile hundreds of state and local governments are doing the opposite visit passing local regulations making local emissions promises all of which puts the US delegation at today's meeting in an awkward position and raises the a question if the U._S. is no longer leading international climate action who will

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