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Climate report: World must triple carbon reductions to avert catastrophe

The report came ahead of Monday's United Nations Climate Summit in New York City.

By
Clyde Hughes
Hundreds gather in Pershing Square in Los Angeles as part of the Global Climate Strike on Friday.  Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Hundreds gather in Pershing Square in Los Angeles as part of the Global Climate Strike on Friday.  Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 23 (UPI) -- An international group of climate scientists said in a new report the world must triple its commitment to cut carbon emissions to avert a catastrophic level of global warming by the turn of the next century.

Leading climate science organizations issued the report Sunday, ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City on Monday. The United in Science report includes research from the World Meteorological Organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Global Framework for Climate Services.

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"This important document ... features the latest critical data and scientific findings on the climate crisis," U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in the report. "It shows how our climate is already changing and highlights the far-reaching and dangerous impacts that will unfold for generations to come.

"Science informs governments in their decision-making and commitments. I urge leaders to heed these facts, unite behind the science and take ambitious, urgent action to halt global heating and set a path toward a safer, more sustainable future for all."

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The report says the global climate is warming faster than originally forecast and more drastic plans are needed to prevent a cataclysmic rise in global temperatures by the year 2100.

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The analysis said many changes linked to the rise in temperature -- like heat waves, wildfires and floods -- have hit sooner and harder than experts projected a decade ago.

The average global temperature for 2015-19, the report said, is on pace to become the warmest of any similar period on record. The warmest stretch is 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times between 1850 and 1900.

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"The report provides a unified assessment of the state of our Earth system under the increasing influence of anthropogenic climate change, of humanity's response thus far and of the far-reaching changes that science projects for our global climate in the future," said a statement from the Science Advisory Group.

"The scientific data and findings presented in the report represent the very latest authoritative information on these topics. It highlights the urgent need for the development of concrete actions that halt the worst effects of climate change."

The report said two indicators -- ice melt in the Arctic and Antarctica -- have seen significant change. Scientists said the summer sea-ice extent in the Arctic has declined 12 percent each decade from 1979 to 2018. The yearly loss of ice from Antarctica's ice sheet increased sixfold from 1979 to 2017, while glacier loss in the last four years was greater than any other five-year period in history.

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"How many climate records does it take to accept the unprecedented nature of what we are living and to act upon it?" Pep Canadell, executive director of the Global Carbon Project, said. He emphasized the report also confirms that climate changes had accelerated over the past 10 years.

The report calls for a more rapid move toward renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, and eliminating dependence on fossil fuels. It stressed that larger industrial nations, like the United States and Great Britain, should entirely end the use of coal by 2031.

U.N. Environment, the Global Carbon Project, Future Earth and Earth League were also part of the coalition that produced the report.

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Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg waits to speak on the stage as thousands gather at Battery Park. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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