A UN climate change official, Patricia Espinosa, has recently warned that governments are behind on the greenhouse gas targets in the Paris Agreement which was established in 2016 and is required as part of urgent action to reduce global temperature increases.
Espinosa is the head of the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and has stated that governments are unlikely to hit the Paris Agreement target of limiting the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels; with the aim of limiting the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change.
What are the risks if global governments do not hit the Paris Agreement’s greenhouse gas targets?
Espinosa has drawn attention to the global extreme weather conditions and heatwaves this summer as a reminder that governments need to act urgently and implement the greenhouse gas targets in the Paris Agreement.
Many countries and islands are at risk of catastrophic effects from climate change. This summer was one of Europe’s hottest summers, with some countries reaching over 45°C, and it has recently been predicted that many global cities will reach 50°C soon, a temperature which would leave citizens at risk of deadly heat stroke.
What is the consensus on global climate change targets?
There have been numerous concerns about global governments not implementing the greenhouse gas targets in the Paris Agreement effectively. A letter has been signed by CEOs from ten leading energy companies addressed to the European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker and UK Prime Minister Theresa May, urging both the EU and the UK to ensure that the Brexit deal includes a climate and energy chapter to ensure their commitment to international climate change targets.
Today, international climate change negotiations in Bangkok have begun and the concerns of both Espinosa and the ten energy companies have been echoed by the Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama. Bainimarama has said that governments are unprepared for another climate change meeting in Katowice, Poland later this year, which aims at ensuring that the greenhouse gas targets in the Paris Agreement are being met.