UN warns of imminent climate crisis as experts predict temperature surge

The world is on the brink of a climate disaster, according to a UN warning triggered by a Guardian survey. This survey revealed that nearly 400 leading climate experts anticipate global temperatures to exceed the 1.5C limit, with almost 80% predicting a rise of at least 2.5C above preindustrial levels. This level of heating is considered catastrophic. The findings have prompted urgent calls for radical action to reduce fossil fuel use and mitigate climate impacts. António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, emphasised that the 2020s are crucial for winning or losing the battle to limit warming to 1.5C.

Alok Sharma, president of the 2021 Cop26 climate summit, urged governments to act with more urgency. Christiana Figueres, architect of the 2015 Paris Agreement, highlighted the potential for positive societal changes despite the looming crisis. Representatives from vulnerable regions, such as the Alliance of Small Island States, expressed their distress over the insufficient climate action from larger nations. Mohamed Adow from Power Shift Africa, along with youth climate activists Vanessa Nakate and Disha Ravi, echoed these concerns, stressing the deadly consequences for the global south.

Policy experts, economists, and business leaders voiced their frustrations and called for immediate action. Rachel Kyte from the University of Oxford and climate economist Nicholas Stern stressed the need for political innovation and rapid, large-scale changes. Helen Clarkson of the Climate Group pointed out the significant gap between climate targets and actual progress.

The survey identified a lack of political will as the primary obstacle to effective climate action. Harjeet Singh of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative criticised governments for prioritising fossil fuel interests over public welfare. Politicians like Caroline Lucas, Ed Miliband, and Chrissy Houlahan stressed the importance of urgent, serious responses to the climate emergency, while Bas Eickhout of the European parliament acknowledged the scientists’ despair but insisted on the necessity of continued efforts.

i(x) Net Zero plc (LON:IX) is an investing company which focusses on Energy Transition and Sustainability in the Built Environment, and was founded in 2015 by Trevor Neilson, Pär Lindström and Howard W. Buffett.

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