Monday, September 30, 2019

UN Publishes New Climate Report: The Heat Is On

Photo by Bob Brinkmann.
One of the highlights of this month's climate events at the United Nations was the release of their report, The Heat Is On:  Taking Stock of Global Climate Ambition. The report provides a summary of the current state of climate policy taking place around the world.

There are three main takeaways that I got from the report. 

1. Developing countries are leading the way. Many developing countries are at the front lines of climate change. Many, particularly the small island states, are already feeling the impacts of our climate disruption. The developing countries have developed climate action plans and adaptation plans, they are leading by example, and they are revising initial plans to become more ambitious in reaching their sustainability and climate change goals.

2. The developed world is focused on long-term strategies to phase out greenhouse gases in the second half of the century. This approach is a bit contentious. Many argue that the time to act is now. However, there is concern over economic disruption if change happens too quickly. However, there is definitely a contrast between the approaches in the developing world and the developed world around climate change.

3. We are not doing enough now. The report highlights that there is a great deal of good work happening around the world to reduce greenhouse gases. However, we are not doing enough. According to the report, we are failing to reduce greenhouse gases at a rate needed to prevent climate change. Indeed, greenhouse gases are increasing in the atmosphere even though there are many efforts underway to reduce them.

The report has much more information that many will find useful. I really enjoyed the case studies from places like the Marshall Islands, Kazakhstan, and Ethiopia. There is so much good work going on around the world, however, the report makes clear that it is not nearly enough.

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