New Glasgow commitments, if implemented, would result in a 12 percent emissions cut by the decade’s end, well short of what is needed to curb global warming
LONDON — The United Nations warned Friday that based on current action plans submitted by 191 countries to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the planet is on track to warm by more than 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
The findings come as President Biden gathered the world’s biggest emitters to the White House Friday to try reach an agreement among some of them to cut methane — a potent greenhouse gas — 30 percent by 2030.
The U.N. report offered good and bad news as it synthesized the latest projected emissions by individual countries, as forecast in their “Nationally Determined Contributions” (NDC) reports.
So far, 113 parties to the U.N. climate accord, including the European Union’s collective of 27 countries, have submitted 86 new, updated and often more ambitious projections. Together these nations account for about half of total emissions. If they carry out their current plans, they are on track to produce a 12 percent reduction in heat-trapping gases in 2030 compared to 2010.
That’s the good news, said, Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of U.N. Climate Change, in a news conference Friday marking the release of the report.
But taken as a whole, the 191 nations that are parties to the U.N. climate accord would contribute a 16 percent increase in greenhouse gases in 2030 than 2010.
Espinosa called these numbers “sobering.”
“It is not enough, what we have on the table,” she said during the news conference.
Consider this, optimists. All the societies in the world can collapse simultaneously. It has happened before.
In the 12th century BCE the great Bronze Age civilizations of the Mediterranean—all of them—suddenly fell apart. Their empires evaporated, their cities emptied out, their technologies disappeared, and famine ruled. Mycenae, Minos, Assyria, Hittites, Canaan, Cyprus—all gone. Even Egypt fell into a steep decline. The Bronze Age was over.
The event should live in history as one of the great cautionary tales, but it hasn’t because its causes were considered a mystery. How can we know what to be cautious of? Eric Cline has taken on on the mystery. An archaeologist-historian at George Washington University, he is the author of “1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed.” The failure, he suggests, was systemic. The highly complex, richly interconnected system of the world tipped all at once into chaos.
“1177 B.C.: When Civilization Collapsed” was given on January 11, 02016 as part of Long Now’s Seminar series. The series was started in 02003 to build a compelling body of ideas about long-term thinking from some of the world’s leading thinkers. The Seminars take place in San Francisco and are curated and hosted by Stewart Brand. To follow the talks, you can:
Rupert Read, Environmental Philosopher and Chair of Green House Think Tank.
The Paris Agreement explicitly commits us to use non-existent, utterly reckless, unaffordable and ineffective ‘Negative Emissions Technologies’ which will almost certainly fail to be realised. Barring a multifaceted miracle, within a generation, we will be facing an exponentially rising tide of climate disasters that will bring this civilization down. We, therefore, need to engage with climate realism. This means an epic struggle to mitigate and adapt, an epic struggle to take on the climate-criminals and, notably, to start planning seriously for civilizational collapse.
Dr Rupert Read is a Reader in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia. Rupert is a specialist in Wittgenstein, environmental philosophy, critiques of Rawlsian liberalism, and philosophy of film. His research in environmental ethics and economics has included publications on problems of ‘natural capital’ valuations of nature, as well as pioneering work on the Precautionary Principle. Recently, his work was cited by the Supreme Court of the Philippines in their landmark decision to ban the cultivation of GM aubergine. Rupert is also chair of the UK-based post-growth think tank, Green House, and is a former Green Party of England & Wales councillor, spokesperson, European parliamentary candidate and national parliamentary candidate. He stood as the Green Party MP-candidate for Cambridge in 2015.
About the series
Shed A Light is a series of talks that seek to present alternative framings of future human-nature interactions and the pragmatic solution pathways that we could take to get there.
By recognising the interlinkages between struggles for ecological, social and economic justice in addition to the desperate need for immediate societal transformation, Shed A Light aims to engage everyone with the green agenda and prompt broad-based discussions on sustainability issues.
Writing about climate change can be challenging, especially if the desire is to raise serious alarm but offer some solutions and hope. No one has done that better than DAVID WALLACE-WELLS, whose recent book, The Uninhabitable Earth, has been called “this generation’s Silent Spring.” He alerts us to the human effects on our planet, the ways that environmental damage is transforming nature, influencing global politics, threatening capitalism and, indeed, human progress. But—as the author will explain—his book is also an impassioned call to action. For just as the world was brought to the brink of catastrophe within the span of a lifetime, the responsibility to avoid it now belongs to a single generation—today’s. Guiding us forward, Wallace-Wells will also lay out some of the dramatic actions we could take to build a livable, prosperous world in the age of global warming.
At only 1,000km away from the North Pole, the Norwegian town of Longyearbyen stands at the frontier of climate change. Here, homes constructed on a thawing permafrost balance precariously on unstable foundations, residents are plagued by frequent landslides, and rain – instead of snow – falls in winter. In February last year, Vanessa Liu and Mark Cheong visited the northernmost town in the world to explore how climate change is affecting everyday life in the Arctic.
Merlin is the archetypal wizard, Welsh and Celtic in origin but with connections across the water in Cornwall and middle Europe, and, of course, the Arthurian legends. The powerful wizard is portrayed across folklore with many magical powers, including the power of shapeshifting, and is well-known for being King Arthur’s mentor, ultimately guiding him towards becoming the king of Camelot. In this documentary, we take a deep dive into the fantastic world of Merlin and his influence in today’s society.