Climate at mercy of politics in 2020, experts warn
2020 is the most crucial year yet for humanity's plan to dodge the bullet of catastrophic global warming, experts said Saturday, warning that the narrow path to safety was riddled with pitfalls, from the US election to Brexit.
When nations struck the 2015 Paris agreement, which aims to limit temperature rises under 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), they agreed on five-year periods in which climate action could be implemented, assessed and boosted.
2020 is the year the landmark deal goes into effect, yet almost three decades of diplomatic wrangling has fallen far short of what science says is needed to avert disastrous climate change.
A crucial UN summit at which leaders will finalise their action plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is set to open in Glasgow on November 9—just six days after a US general election that could see President Donald Trump win a second term.
Trump shocked the world in 2017 when he said the United States—history's largest emitter—was withdrawing from the Paris agreement. It is due to leave the deal on November 4.
"Another four years of Trump in the White House would mean that the world's key country in terms of providing global leadership will be sitting the problem out," Michael Oppenheimer, professor of Geosciences and International Affairs at Princeton University, told AFP.
"So that's four years of having a millstone around the neck of the world's efforts to deal with climate change."
After a year of climate-related disasters, from cyclones and flooding in Africa and southeast Asia to devastating wildfires in Australia and California, nations in December failed to make progress during the annual UN Climate Change Conference COP 25.