US climate pledges likely to go unmet: study
The United States will likely fail to meet its pledges under the landmark Paris climate pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, analysts said Thursday on the margin of UN climate talks.
Even if president-elect Donald Trump does not reverse policies already put in place by Barack Obama—and that is a big 'if'—US emissions of heat-trapping gases would remain stable over the next 15 years, badly missing the target, they said in a report.
"With no additional policies, emissions in the US will be flat until 2030," said Niklas Hohne, director of the NewClimate Institute in Cologne, Germany, and co-author of the analysis.
Under the Paris Agreement, which went into force last week, the United States committed to slashing its carbon pollution by 26-28 percent, as measured against a 2005 benchmark.
If Trump carried out threats to unwind the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, these emissions could be even higher, Hohne said.
Trump has described global warming as a "hoax" perpetrated by the Chinese government, and has said at different times that he would "renegotiate" or "cancel" the 196-nation deal.
The country-by-country analysis of the world's biggest CO2 emitters, updated from last year, found that average global temperatures would rise by 2.8 degrees Celsius (5.0 Fahrenheit) if all nations fully carried out their emissions reduction pledges.
With no change from current policies, the global thermometer would rise about 3.6C (6.5F) by century's end, a recipe for climate catastrophe, scientists say.
Already with barely 1.0C (1.8F) of warming, the world has seen an uptick in deadly storms, droughts, heatwaves and flooding caused by unusually heavy rains.
Nations must seriously boost efforts to accelerate the shift away from fossil fuels if the Paris pact's goal of holding global warming to below 2.0C (3.6F) are to be met, said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics, and co-author of the report.
"Not much change has happened in the level of ambition being put forward by countries" since the deal was inked in the French capital last December, he said.
But developments in China and India are "encouraging," he added, with both countries moving away from carbon-intensive coal to renewables.
© 2016 AFP