A bleak new climate report from the United Nations Environment Programme warns that, at the current pace of greenhouse gas emissions, global temperatures will rise by as much as 3.9 degrees Celsius (almost 7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100.
The annual report, which compares current rates of greenhouse gas emissions to the goals set by the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, states that global greenhouse gas emissions would have to be cut by 7.6 percent annually for the next decade to meet the 1.5 degree Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming goal set by the Paris agreement and avoid catastrophic warming..
In the last decade, global greenhouse gas emissions have risen annually by about 1.5 percent on average. In 2018 alone, the report notes that global fossil-fuel CO2 emissions from electricity generation grew by 2%.
Despite continued growth in renewable energy sectors like wind and solar, sharp declines in coal-fired power generation (in developed nations), and investments in electric vehicles (EV) and related infrastructure, global emissions are not expected to peak until the end of the next decade.
The Earth is already more than 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) warmer than it was before industrialization, which is driving more frequent and severe drought, heatwaves, food scarcity, and extreme weather events.
Contrary to the bleak outlook, scientists say that there’s still hope that we can make the dramatic changes needed to achieve these climate goals, such as shifting away from our reliance on fossil fuels.
Learn more about the environmental impacts of the energy industry.