Most countries are on track to miss them anyway. The global effort to combat climate change boils down to this: Bending a very stubborn curve.
At the upcoming U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland — COP26 for short — countries will face pressure to make more ambitious pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions with the goal of keeping average global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to preindustrial levels, the Washington Post reports.
Those pledges, in turn, are mostly too weak to collectively meet the goals forged as part of the 2015 Paris agreement: to keep global warming “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and, if possible, stop at 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Earth has warmed more than 1 degree Celsius on average over the past century, and many places have warmed by at least 2 degrees, a Washington Post analysis of multiple temperature data sets found. The United Nations warned in a recent report that the world is on a path to reach 2.7 degrees Celsius, or 4.9 degrees Fahrenheit, of warming over the course of the century.
The United States has pledged to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but its emissions are currently projected to remain mostly unchanged over the coming decade, according to the Climate Action Tracker analysis. Altering that path would require significant shifts in the way Americans travel and power their homes and businesses, scientists say.
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