BERLIN — The U.N.'s expert panel on climate change on Sunday highlighted the disconnect between international goals to fight global warming and what is actually being done to attain them.
Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases must drop by 40-70 percent by 2050 to keep the global temperature rise below the 2-degree C (3.6-degree F) cap set in U.N. climate talks, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said.
The opposite is happening now. On average global emissions rose by 2.2 percent a year between 2000 and 2010, outpacing growth in previous decades to reach "unprecedented levels" despite some efforts to contain them, the IPCC said.
Counting all emissions since the industrialized revolution in the 18th century, the U.S. is the top carbon polluter. China's current emissions are greater than those of the U.S. and rising quickly. China's historical emissions are expected to overtake those of the U.S. in the next decade.
But the panel didn't get into who should do what about the problem in the 33-page summary meant to serve as a scientific guide to governments negotiating a new climate agreement, which is supposed to be adopted next year.
Leaked drafts of that document showed the biggest reason for the rising emissions is the higher energy needs resulting from population growth and expanding economies in the developing world.
However, diagrams that illustrated that problem were deleted by governments in the final version that was adopted at a weeklong IPCC session in Berlin.
Oswaldo Lucon, a Brazilian scientist involved in the report, regretted that the diagrams were taken out, saying they are relevant to the "big picture."
Underlying the arguments "was a whole history of discussions on who was going to foot the bill of environmental damage," Lucon said.
— The Associated Press
First published April 13 2014, 9:22 AM