While the past three UN reports point to a dangerous increase in global warming, a big question remains: Will nations all across the globe collaborate to combat climate change? Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came out with the report indicating that sharp greenhouse gas emission cuts must begin on a worldwide scale immediately in order to avert the worst impacts of impending climate change. With a goal of 40-70% greenhouse gas reduction by 2050, the UN is no longer complacent with a waiting game and urges nations to take action.
However, there are doubts nations will actually be willing to take steps that far, regardless of the fact that humanity’s influence on global warming is clear in the last 60 years. Some of the worst effects of climate change are acidified oceans, higher sea levels and extreme crop losses, indicating that the impacts are serious.
The new IPCC report helps government leaders determine the risk of a tolerated “dangerous” amount of global warming. However, determining this “dangerous” threshold is extremely difficult to do since the analysis is based off of many model predictions and attempts to include all costs and benefits of averting climate change.
Some good news also comes from the report- it suggests that a worldwide switch to a low-emissions economy is going to be less expensive than many had previously suspected. However, skepticism for enactment is still quite strong. Because national policies are much more difficult to pass than local smaller scale governments, the report ultimately analyzed the potential for a “bottom up” approach in which climate agreements among cities, states, provinces, and regions would cut their emissions on their own accord.
For more information see the National Geographic article here: