Scientists have warned that beyond 1.5C, some of the damage to the earth’s climate will become irreversible.
The CAT analysts also found a chasm between what countries have said they will do on greenhouse gas emissions and their plans in reality. If current policies and measures are taken into account, rather than just goals, heating would rise to 2.7C, based on the CAT analysis.
Read the full report here:
This might come as a shock to avid readers. That is because just last week, other organisations published more optimistic forecasts of 1.9C or 1.8C.
However, those estimates were based on long-term goals set out by countries including India, the world’s third-biggest emitter, which is aiming for net-zero emissions by 2070.
By contrast, the CAT based its analysis on countries’ short-term goals for the next decade.
Bill Hare, the chief executive of Climate Analytics, one of the organisations behind CAT, explains why long-term goals are misleading:
We are concerned that some countries are trying to portray [Cop26] as if the 1.5C limit is nearly in the bag. But it’s not, it’s very far from it, and they are downplaying the need to get short-term targets for 2030 in line with 1.5C.
Niklas Höhne, an author of the report, said:
Countries’ long-term intentions are good, but their short-term implementation is inadequate.
In other words, we can make promises for the future, but we need to make drastic and immediate changes in the next few years to avoid disaster.
World on a disastrous path to 2.4C heating based on short term Cop26 pledges
And… the results are in. It’s very bad news.
The Climate Action Tracker (CAT), the world’s most respected climate analysis coalition, has announced that temperature rises will top 2.4C by the end of this century, based on the short-term goals countries have set out at Cop26.
That is a disastrous level of global heating far in excess of the limits in the Paris climate agreement, despite a flurry of carbon-cutting pledges from governments at this year’s UN summit.
At that level, widespread extreme weather – sea level rises, drought, floods, heatwaves and fiercer storms – would cause devastation across the globe.
A reminder: the Paris accord aspirations were of “well below” 2C upper limit, and the much safer 1.5C limit.
In twenty minutes, what could be the biggest news of the day is going to drop: the results of the Climate Action Tracker.
- The CAT is the world’s most respected climate analysis coalition, providing independent reports to policymakers since 2009.
What does it do?
- It tracks and monitors government climate action and, since 2015, measures it against the globally agreed Paris Agreement aims.
What are those?
- For the first time, rich and poor countries joined together in a legally binding treaty pledging to hold global heating to well below 2C, the scientifically-advised limit of safety, with an aspiration not to breach 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
What will CAT say this year?
- You will find out shortly.
I’m going to hand over to my colleague Oliver Holmes for the rest of the afternoon and he’ll keep you updated. Thanks and bye!
Growing anxiety about slow progress on the text
With four days to go before the official end of Cop26 on Friday, there is unease among delegates about the lack of progress made in discussions.
“Everything is still to play for but there’s a long way to go to ensure Glasgow is remembered for the right reasons,” said Tracy Carty, climate change policy and advocacy lead at Oxfam.
At a press conference hosted by the Climate Action Network, she said there were high hopes for another text due out on Wednesday, “but in terms of the normal rhythm of things, we’d expect to be where we are now much earlier, things are running very late”.
“I think ending Cop on Friday is very ambitious, so be prepared to change your trains,” she added. “Obama came here recognising the huge diplomatic lift that is needed now. Maybe Boris Johnson can come back to help move things along. That’s the level of political engagement we need.”
Also speaking at the event was Iemaima Vaai from the Pacific Conference of Churches who spoke of the alarm among indigenous communities at the slow pace of progress. “We talk about 2030. For us low-lying countries by then a whole country could be relocated and displaced,” she said.
“Our climate reality in the Pacific is now having to accept relocation as an adaptation measure. Coastal communities have had to transition, taking up new skills and knowledge on farming and relocating inland. And worst, they’ve had to pay these relocation costs even though they contribute the least to the climate crisis.”
At the entrance to the blue zone, a group of Indigenous Activists are staging a memorial to highlight the link between “the ongoing violence towards Indigenous women, queer, trans, and two-spirit peoples and the extractive industries that created the climate crisis”.
“We reject colonising messages that tell us what lifestyles are right or wrong, says Panganga Pungowiyi, from Alaska. “We see the parallels between the abuse of our land and the abuse of our people.”
Nuskmata from the Nuxalk community on the Canadian border said: “We have a highway in the north called the highway of tears, where so many of our women and girls have been stolen. We have mining extraction without consent, deforestation, industrial salmon farms, all these things are linked.”
Hallo, I’ll be following events at Cop26 for the next couple of hours. My colleague Libby Brooks has just filmed these rather excellent drummers outside the conference centre.
That’s it from me today. Thanks for reading and contributing. I’ll hand over now to my colleague Bibi, and leave you with this story – about two delegates from the Cop26 negotiations visiting a charity shop in Glasgow that specialises in benefitting the formerly homeless people who live and work there.
Chile’s Gonzalo Muñoz and the UK’s Nigel Topping toured the the Emmaus shop and community building on Ellesmere Street in Hamiltonhill.
Emmaus helps people with experience of homelessness learn how to repair and upcycle donations that might otherwise go to landfill, sorting items, testing products and stripping goods for valuable metal.
Muñoz reportedly bought a teapot.
Cop26: so what’s actually on the table?
The last lap is the hardest in any race and that’s where the Cop26 climate summit is as it enters its last few days. The glitzy opening ceremony with world leaders is a fading memory and now it’s the hard yards of negotiation and compromise for their ministers.
They must finalise the rules of the 2015 Paris deal so countries cannot cheat their way to the carbon-cutting finish line of net zero. The complex, technical texts belie their importance – disputes over a single word could provoke walk outs by some negotiators.
So what’s on the table?
“Transparency” – code for regular UN-led checks on how countries’ are delivering. This is seen as the backbone of the Paris agreement by many. The US is very keen, China is not.
“Article 6” – the rules for an international market in carbon credits through which nations can offset their own pollution by paying for cuts elsewhere. That’s a vital way to cut carbon efficiently, or a scam to delay cuts, depending on who you ask. African nations say a cut from credit sales should be used to fund adaptation to extreme weather in vulnerable countries, but the US sees that as an unacceptable tax.
“Loss and damage” – perhaps the most sensitive of all the issues, this is money from the rich nations that mostly caused global heating to the poor nations that mostly suffer. Reparations say some, with Scotland the first to offer cash, but many nations are reluctant.
There’s more. Will the “cover decision” agreed by all nations firmly target a temperature limit of 1.5C, which scientists now say is vital, or stick with the more vague “under 2C” of Paris? Oil-rich Saudi Arabia is lobbying for the latter. Will countries agree to upgrade their emissions pledges every year, rather than every five? Will a decade-old promise of $100bn to fund clean development in low-income countries finally be delivered, and will this increase in future?
These are the hard yards that matter if the climate crisis is to end. You can’t cheat atmospheric physics. So the world has to win this race clean and win it fast, with the clock at a minute to midnight. The Guardian will be reporting from the Glasgow finish line with this in mind: winning the climate race slowly is simply another way of losing.
A viral video posted by the celebrity chef and noted idiot Salt Bae in which he serves steak covered in gold leaf to the head of Vietnam’s delegation to the Cop26 climate change summit has drawn criticism of hypocrisy, greenwashing and general forehead-smacking weirdness.
To Lam, the minister of public security of the nominally communist country, left the summit in Glasgow to travel to London, where he visited the grave of Karl Marx, founded of communism.
He then visited the restaurant of Nusret Gökçe, Salt Bae’s real name, who posted the video to TikTok showing him feeding Lam gold-covered meat directly into his mouth. Meals at the restaurant, slated hilariously in an indirect review by my colleague Jay Rayner, can cost thousands of pounds.
As Vice magazine put it: “There’s nothing more 2021 than Salt Bae feeding a communist party official gold-plated steak after a climate change summit.”
‘We must change behaviour if we’re going to cut emissions’ say health chiefs
Patrick Vallance has echoed Barack Obama’s call to stick to the target of 1.5C.
Changes in behaviour are needed to tackle the climate emergency, the UK’s chief scientific adviser told the summit. He said behaviour change was starting to happen but needed to go further and said he now cycled to work, ate less meat and had taken the train to the climate summit in Glasgow.
He also said that the climate crisis was a far bigger problem than coronavirus and would kill more people if changes were not made now.
Canada’s chief scientific adviser, Mona Nemer, said there would need to be a “profound behavioural and cultural change in terms of our relation to the Earth”.
Speaking to my former Guardian colleague Adam Vaughan, now at New Scientist, Vallance added:
There’s actually quite a lot of hope. The technologies we need are either here or in development. The second reason for hope is we’ve got a whole generation that’s absolutely determined to do this. There’s behaviour change happening right the way across the globe. Third is: some of the commitments at this conference are going to make a difference in getting people together.”