Climate change and global warming pose a major threat to the sustainability of the earth. As a recent United Nations report notes, rising greenhouse gas emissions and climate change are occurring at rates much faster than anticipated.
“While there are positive steps in terms of the climate finance flows and the development of nationally determined contributions, far more ambitious plans and accelerated action are needed on mitigation and adaptation.” The UN report notes. “Access to finance and strengthened capacities need to be scaled up at a much faster rate, particularly for least developed countries and small island developing states.”
According to the UN, increasing greenhouse gas emissions are driving climate change. In 2017, greenhouse gas concentrations reached new highs, with globally averaged mole fractions of CO2 at 405.5 parts per million (ppm), an increase from 400.1 ppm in 2015. This level represents a 146 percent over pre-industrial levels. Looking ahead toward 2030 emission rapid reductions are needed.
Progress is being made toward a unified global effort on climate change. To date, 185 parties have ratified the Paris Agreement, which brings all nations together to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so.
Parties to the Paris Agreement are expected to prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions, and 183 parties had communicated their first nationally determined contributions to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Under the agreement, all parties are required to submit new nationally determined contributions, containing revised and much more ambitious targets, by 2020.
“Climate change doesn’t care if we’re left wing, right wing, or in the center,” says Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary. “It doesn’t care who is prime minister of what country, whether you were born in this generation or the last, what your race is, or how much money you make. It’s coming all the same. It’s already here. And it’s a global emergency.”
Espinosa says all global stakeholders need to re-double their efforts to combat climate change: “2020 must be the year we collectively show—through concrete action—that we are truly committed to build a healthier, safer, more sustainable and resilient future for all people.”