Thursday, June 02, 2022

Climate Change Policy Failure

This month also marks the 50th anniversary of the Stockholm conference, when representatives from around the world first resolved that the global state of the environment was a cause for concern, and concerted international action was needed to solve problems such as pollution, species loss, land degradation and resource depletion.

 The policies currently in place to tackle the climate crisis around the world will lead to “catastrophic” climate breakdown, as governments have failed to take the actions needed to fulfil their promises, three former UN climate leaders have warned. The former UN top officials – Michael Zammit Cutajar, Yvo de Boer and Christiana Figueres – each successively held the post of executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, parent treaty to the Paris agreement, which was signed 30 years ago this week at the landmark Rio Earth Summit.

There is a stark gap between what governments have promised to do to protect the climate, and the measures and policies needed to achieve the targets. The policies and measures passed and implemented by governments would lead to far greater temperature rises, of at least 2.7C, well beyond the threshold of relative safety, and potentially as much as 3.6C. That would have “catastrophic” impacts, in the form of extreme weather, sea-level rises and irreversible changes to the global climate.

“The myriad reports of extreme weather we have witnessed in 2022 suggest there is no time to waste,” they write. “The further climate change progresses, the more we lock in a future featuring more ruined harvests, and more food insecurity, along with a host of other problems including rises in sea level, threats to water security, drought and desertification. Governments must act against climate change while also dealing with other pressing crises.”

Actions by developed countries have so far been “disappointing”, in their failure to reduce emissions fast enough, and in not making finance available to poorer countries to help them cope with the impacts of climate breakdown, they add.

Current policies will bring ‘catastrophic’ climate breakdown, warn former UN leaders | Climate crisis | The Guardian

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