Tackling Climate Change Can Help India, China With Health Benefits

Audrey Hill
December 7, 2018

"Even as we witness devastating climate impacts causing havoc across the world, we are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough, to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate disruption". "When health is taken into account, climate action is an opportunity, not a cost".

US emissions are projected to grow by about 2.5 percent in 2018, despite an otherwise downward trend-and continued declines for coal-in large part due to growth in oil and natural gas and a year marked by unusually severe winter and summer weather.

"According to IPCC (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change), to limit warming well below 2 degree Celsius, CO2 emissions should decline by about 20 per cent by 2030 and reach net zero around 2075; to limit warming below 1.5 degree Celsius, CO2 emissions should decline by 50 per cent by 2030 and reach net zero by around 2050..."

The article in Environmental Research Letters said Chinese emissions in 2018, compared to 2017, were estimated to have grown 4.7 per cent, with the USA up 2.5 per cent, the European Union down 0.7 per cent, India up 6.3 per cent, and the rest of the world up 1.8 per cent.

The finding on rich nations" emission is part of a report of the UN climate body on "progress and gaps' in pre-2020 targets of these countries. That was soon followed by another report detailing the growing gap between the commitments made at earlier United Nations conferences and what is needed to steer the planet off its calamitous path.

Global CO2 emissions are rising, with growing electricity generation in China among the reasons.

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Almost 200 nations are huddled at UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland until December 14. The Trump administration has continued to roll back environmental regulations and insist that it will exit the Paris agreement in 2020. Oil companies were still scouring the Earth for new reserves, developing countries were chasing the American dream of unsustainable sprawl, and the world's most powerful country had just awarded the only major political party in the industrial world that rejects the scientific consensus on climate change with full control of its national government. Brazil, which has struggled to rein in deforestation, in the fall elected a leader in Jair Bolsonaro who has pledged to roll back protections for the Amazon.

China's emissions accounted for 27% of the global total, having grown an estimated 4.7% in 2018 and reaching a new all-time high. But the Communist Party needs unceasing economic growth to safeguard its legitimacy - so, it allowed its coal plants to increase production in 2018, for the sake of supporting (yet another) multi-trillion-dollar construction stimulus.

Rapid deployment of solar and wind power, along with gains in energy efficiency, have been outpaced by growth in demand for freight, personal transport, shipping, and aviation, the research showed. "We are not seeing action in the way we really need to".

Such changes - in all large-emitting nations - have to happen fast.

As UN's climate conference is going on in Katowice, Poland a new report should add to the urgency to create a framework that helps countries achieve climate-change mitigation goals.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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