World only half way to meeting emissions target with current pledges – Fiona Harvey, a Friday 6 November 2015 03.30 EST

Governments will need to increase efforts to limit carbon emissions in order to stop climate change, says UN report ahead of Paris summit

Open cast coal mine

Current global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions leave about half of the reductions needed still to be found, according to a new analysis by the UN.

The report suggests that governments will have to go much further in their pledges to limit future carbon dioxide emissions, which have been submitted to the UN ahead of the crunch conference on climate change taking place this December in Paris.

Ways for governments to ramp up their commitments in future are one of the key components of the Paris talks.

The UN Environment Programme (Unep) published a report showing that global emissions levels should not exceed 48 gigatonnes (GT) of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2025, and 42 GT in 2030, if the world is to have a good chance of holding global warming to no more than 2C on average above pre-industrial temperatures. The 2C threshold is regarded by scientists as the limit of safety, beyond which the ravages of climate change – such as droughts, floods, heatwaves and sea level rises – are likely to become catastrophic and irreversible.

But current pledges, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), are likely to lead to emissions of 53 to 58 GT of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2025, and between 54 and 59 GT in 2030.

This means that emissions in 2030 are likely to be about 11GT lower than they would have been without the INDCs. But, according to Unep, they need to be about 12GT lower than that to give the world a two-thirds chance of avoiding more than 2C of warming. This leaves a large “emissions gap” to be made up.

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Bernie Sanders Calls For Federal Investigation Of Exxon – BY EMILY ATKIN OCT 20, 2015 4:28PM

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JACQUELYN MARTIN Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., poses for a portrait before an interview, Wednesday May 20, 2015, in Washington.

Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., poses for a portrait before an interview, Wednesday May 20, 2015, in Washington.


Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wants ExxonMobil investigated by the Department of Justice.

In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Tuesday, Sanders charged the oil giant of engaging in a cover-up to intentionally mislead the public about the reality of human-caused climate change, and by extension the risks of its carbon-intensive product.

“It appears that Exxon knew its product was causing harm to the public, and spent millions of dollars to obfuscate the facts in the public discourse,” Sanders wrote. “The information that has come to light about Exxon’s past activities raises potentially serious concerns that should be investigated.”

The information Sanders cited was a recent investigation by Inside Climate News, which found that the ExxonMobil conducted research as far back as 1977 affirming that climate change is caused by carbon emissions from fossil fuels. At the same time, the oil giant gave millions of dollars to politicians and organizations that promote climate science denial, and spent millions more lobbying to prevent regulations to limit carbon emissions.

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Summer 2015 set to be world’s hottest ever as US temperatures again soar – Joanna Walters in New York Saturday 12 September 2015 08.00 EDT

US had its 12-hottest summer but seven of the warmer seasons were in last 15 years. With ocean temperatures rising, scientists warn: ‘It’s definitely not good’

A helicopter makes a water bucket drop in Washington during a summer marked by wildfires in the western US, that is set to be the country’s 12-hottest.

New data showing that the US had its 12th-hottest summer on record may not, at first glance, appear particularly significant or alarming.

But in announcing the news, climate scientists have pointed out that, of the 11 American summers that were recorded as warmer than 2015’s, seven have occurred in the last 15 years; the other four were all during the “Dustbowl” 1930s heatwaves that plagued the US during the Great Depression.

And, as part of the climate warming trend globally, next Thursday a federal agency is set to announce the latest worldwide figures that are likely to show that it was officially the hottest summer ever recorded on the planet, and the hottest first eight months of the year to date.

The summer of drought, fires and heat for large parts of the western US dominated the news and pushed national temperatures up, even though the central states were cooler than average for the season.

The average temperature in the lower 48 states for June to August 2015 was 72.7F (22.6C), 1.3 degrees above the 20th-century average, according to the latest data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where the records go back to 1895.

California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington states have experienced their hottest year on record and the north-east nudged record warm temperatures for August.

On 1 September, 30% of the contiguous US was suffering drought conditions, up 3.3% since July, according to a NOAA report released on Friday.

Scientists are watching with interest the combined effect of the El Niño cyclical weather pattern warming the surface waters of the equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean at the same time as the northern reaches of that ocean have also been unusually warm this summer.


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