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Greenhouse gases must peak by 2025

The ever increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the upper atmosphere is leading to global warming. Having assessed progress in climate change mitigation, national pledges and sources of the GHG gases, the overall conclusions of Working Party 3 of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are that –

  • not only must the emission of these gases peak by 2025
  • but also emissions of such gases must decrease by half this decade

to ensure that the average global temperature rise does not exceed 1.5C.

In addition, the concentration of methane, another GHG, increased by a record amount during the past year. While methane is much shorter lived than carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, it is a very much stronger absorber of infra –red radiation reflected back from the earth’s surface. As one of the strongest sources of methane is that associated with mining oil and gas, reducing our need for fossil fuels will also decrease methane emissions.

Reducing emissions

The most effective way of reducing GHG emissions is to replace fossil fuels by renewable energy sources like solar electricity and wind, which are abundant and wide spread and whose costs have decreased dramatically this past decade. Other strategies promoted by the IPCC which could also improve our health and well being, include –

  • • creating energy efficient homes
  • • undertaking more walking and cycling
  • • adopting greener diets
  • • wasting less food
  • • planting more trees

If these actions were undertaken now, their cost would only be a few per cent of annual production while delaying actions by even a few years would result in much higher costs and irreversible changes in climate.

Pledges

To stabilise the climate, countries attending the 26th Conference to the Parties in Glasgow (COP 26) made various pledges to reduce GHG emissions, but not all these are being implemented. At present GHG emissions are likely to increase by 10% by 2030 rather than decrease so putting billions of people at risk of a changing climate.



 

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