The Earth will be hotter than predicted four years ago, thanks in part to a trimmed carbon emissions target set by Japan as the nuclear-reliant nation grapples with energy security.
The planet will warm by 3.7 degrees Celsius by 2100, or 0.6 degrees more than projections from four years ago, based on emissions pledges by all nations, according to a study by the Climate Action Tracker released during the United Nations climate talks in Warsaw.
The UN has sought to limit the Earth’s warming since the pre-industrial era to 2 degrees Celsius to curtail the worst effects of climate change, including longer droughts, rising seas and stronger storms.
But retrenching by Japan and Australia will drag down efforts to abate global warming, according to a group of scientists and climate analysts.
“We are seeing a major risk of a further downward spiral in ambition, a retreat from action, and a re-carbonization of the energy system led by the use of coal,” said Bill Hare, director of Climate Analytics, one of three organizations that run the Climate Action Tracker program.
Japan announced its weaker greenhouse gas emissions target of 3.8% by 2020 during the COP19 climate change talks in Warsaw. The new Japanese goal is marking a 3.1% increase in emissions, rather than seeking a 25% cut by 2020.
Japan was forced to shift energy sources to natural gas and coal amid a nuclear shutdown in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s policy change of abolishing carbon tax risks exacerbating climate change, Climate Action Tracker said.
By Maesie Bertumen
Image: CGIAR Climate/Flickr