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Report: Global warming to surpass dangerous levels

September 29, 2016

Climate scientists have called on governments to 'double or triple' their efforts under the Paris agreement. The closer to the threshold of 2 degrees, the more severe the consequences, they warn.

Smoke stacks in China
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Environmental scientists in cooperation with Argentina's Universal Ecological Fund on Thursday released a report stating global warming will breach a 2-degrees Celsius threshold by 2050 unless governments double their efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

The threshold could be reached despite pledges to curb emissions under the Paris agreement, said Robert Watson, former head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who co-authored the report

"We've really got a problem," Watson told Reuters news agency.

"If indeed these governments are serious about trying to hit the 2C mark, they really have to double or triple the effort of the current pledges made in Paris."

Scientists have forecast more severe heat waves, droughts and rising sea levels due to global warming, warning of mass migration and environmental catastrophes as a consequence.

Global greenhouse gas emissions amount to roughly 54 billion tons a year, although they are expected to be cut to 42 billion by 2030 under the agreement, according to the UN Environment Program (UNEP). World leaders decided on the 2C target in 2009 as a measure of global warming compared to pre-industrial levels.

While the report did not feature in a scientific journal, scientists working on global warming confirmed that the results were in line with current trends.

"It is a good summary of what is common knowledge in the climate expert community, but not widely appreciated by members of the public and even policy makers," said Stefan Rahmstorf, who heads earth system analysis at Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

"So indeed, it is a useful reminder to the world about what is at stake," he added.

Germany ratified the Paris accord on September 23.

ls/kms (Reuters, dpa, AP)