[public-health] ENVIRONMENT GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE: Climate Change Pledges Not Nearly Enough to Save Tropical Ecosystems

 

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ENVIRONMENT GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE:

Climate Change Pledges Not Nearly Enough to Save Tropical Ecosystems

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Climate Change Pledges Not Nearly Enough to Save Tropical Ecosystems

Sunday, 28 August 2016

By Jeremy Hance, Mongabay

Truth Out

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/37386-climate-
change-pledges-not-nearly-enough-to-save-tropical-ecosystems

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/gt2ddp9

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The Paris Agreement marked the biggest political milestone to combat climate change since scientists first introduced us in the late 1980s to perhaps humanity’s greatest existential crisis.

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Last December, 178 nations pledged to do their part to keep global average temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over preindustrial levels — adding on an even more challenging, but aspirational goal of holding temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

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To this end, each nation produced a pledge to cut it’s own carbon emissions, targeting everything from the burning of fossil fuels to deforestation to agriculture.

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It seems like a Herculean task, bound, the optimistic say, to bring positive results.

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Yet, less than eight months later, a study in the journal Nature finds that those pledges are nowhere near as ambitious as they need to be to keep temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 degrees. And in August, British scientists reported that this year’s record El Ni has already pushed us perilously close to the 1.5 degree milestone.

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Meanwhile, temperatures are not rising evenly around the planet, with the Arctic warming far faster than the tropics. That fact originally caused scientists to hypothesize that polar ecosystems would suffer more dire climate change impacts ahead of tropical habitats.

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But over recent years, researchers began seeing that some tropical ecosystems are being decimated by climate change far faster than expected — think coral reefs — while many more habitats may be weakened over time — think mangroves, cloud forests and rainforests — if global human effort and political willpower don’t surge quickly.

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Toward a Hotter World

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Study leader, Joeri Rogelj, told Mongabay that he wasn’t surprised by his findings showing that current national carbon reduction pledges would blast past the 2 degree target, leading to global warming of between 2.6 degrees Celsius and 3.1 degrees Celsius.

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“The pledges currently on the table are a first step in a continuous process of pledging, reviewing, and taking stock to what they add up,” said Rogelj, a Research Scholar at the Energy Program of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). “This process has been defined by the Paris Agreement, and nations are thus expected to review and adjust their pledges in light of the best science over the coming years.”

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The Paris Agreement was structured from the bottom up, whereby national pledges would be reviewed every 5 years (beginning in 2020) in order to make sure that carbon cut targets are boosted as time goes by.

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Additional Topics Covered in This Article

Coral Reef-mageddon

“Shocking” Mangrove Die-off

Burning Rainforest

Cloud Forests Marching Too Slowly

The Potential for Mass Extinction

Raising the Stakes, Avoiding the Endgame

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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Sincerely,
David Dillard
Temple University
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jwne@temple.edu
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