The Pasterze glacier (in photo) is Austria's largest and is shrinking rapidly, having receded in length by at least three kilometers since the 19th century. Photograph: (Getty)
Global warming is projected to cause more heatwaves, droughts, downpours and rising sea levels
Global warming is on track to breach a 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) threshold by 2050 unless governments double their efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions, seven of the world's top scientists warned on Thursday.
"Climate change is happening now, and much faster than anticipated," Sir Robert Watson, former head of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), the body charged with distilling climate science for policy makers, was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.
Due to climate change, devastating weather-related events including floods, drought, more intense storms, heat waves and wildfires, have doubled in number since 1990, a report put together by the seven scientists states says, the international news agency reports.
"Without additional efforts by all major emitters (of greenhouse gases), the 2C target could be reached even sooner," Watson said during a teleconference.
“The INDC’s (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions is a term used under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions) are totally inadequate to meet the 2-degree Celsius goal,” he was quoted as saying in the media reports.
“Governments must double and redouble their pledges,” he said, adding that it’s almost certain that the average global temperature will surpass the aspirational 1.5 degree goal as soon as 2030.
The report, prepared on behalf the Universal Ecological Fund, an Argentine-based NGO and was co-authored by scientists from Austria, Argentina, Brazil, Italy, the United Kingdom and the US, also says that pledges made under the Paris climate agreement are inadequate.
Inked by 195 nations in December, the Paris Agreement set an even more ambitious target, vowing to cap warming at "well under" 2C, and even 1.5C if possible. The deal may enter into force by the end of year.
"I think the 1.5 degree pathway is clearly not achievable. We'll pass it probably in the early 2030s," Watson observed adding there is a dire need to cut down the greenhouse gas emissions.
The co-authors of the report include Carlo Carraro, scientific director of the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in Italy, and vice-chair of one of three IPCC working groups, Nebojsa Nakicenovic, deputy director of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna and lead author the IPCC working group III.
2015 was the hottest year on record, and 2016 is shaping up to be even warmer, US and European government scientists have forecast, according to AFP.
Global warming is projected to cause more heatwaves, droughts, downpours and rising sea levels, Reuters observes.
Average world temperatures this year are set for record highs, about 1C above pre-industrial times.
(WION with inputs from AFP, Reuters)