Climate could be SAVED as US and China give hope for avoiding 'doomsday' 3.5C warming scenario

HUMANITY is "within striking distance" of climate targets that would save our planet from a doomsday global warming scenario.

That's according to an analysis from the Climate Action Tracker group, which looked at climate pledges from China and other nations.

They also took into account carbon plans put forward by US President-elect Joe Biden, BBC News reports.

Taken together, the new pledges would mean the average global temperature rise kept to 2.1C (3.8) by the end of the century.

Previous estimates had predicted up to 3C of heating by this point, with catastrophic impacts on our planet.

If nations stick to recent pledges, humanity would be within reach of the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to keep global temperature rises well below 2C (3.6F).

The agreement was created in 2015 and signed by 183 nations, who pledged to reduce their carbon emissions to avoid dangerous global warming.

Scientists have previously warned that hitting 3C of warming would lead to "untold human suffering" the world over.

Weather events like floods and hurricanes would become more frequent and intense, displacing millions of people and devastating food supplies.

As a result of the international deal, countries have slowly started to move away from fossil fuels.

The Climate Action Tracker (CAT), an analysis that tracks government climate action, recent months have provided hope change.

As recently as September, the group predicted a global average temperature rise of 2.7C by 2100.

This has now dropped to 2.1C thanks to new climate pledges made by the EU, US and China.

China's President Xi Jinping, for instance, told the UN in September that his country will reach net zero emission by 2060.

Climate change explained

Here are the basic facts…

  • Scientists have lots of evidence to show that the Earth’s climate is rapidly changing due to human activity
  • Climate change will result in problems like global warming, greater risk of flooding, droughts and regular heatwaves
  • Each of the last three decades have been hotter than the previous one and 17 of the 18 warmest years on record have happened during the 21stcentury
  • The Earth only needs to increase by a few degrees for it to spell disaster
  • The oceans are already warming, polar ice and glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising and we’re seeing more extreme weather events
  • In 2015, almost all of the world's nations signed a deal called the Paris Agreement which set out ways in which they could tackle climate change and try to keep temperatures below 2C

Jinping promised that China would hit its peak emission by 2030.

According to the CAT team, this could cut warming by up to 0.3C by the end of the century.

Promises from China were followed by Joe Biden's ambitious new plans to tackle climate change.

The incoming US President has committed to having the country reach net zero emission by 2050, and has agreed to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement after President Donald pulled out of the deal last month.

Japan and South Korea have also committed to net zero emissions by 2050, while Canada and South Africa have made their own net zero promises.

"We now have north of 50% of global emissions covered by big countries with a zero emissions by mid-century goal," Bill Hare from Climate Analytics, who led the Climate Action Tracker analysis, told BBC News.

"When you add all that up, along with what a whole bunch of other countries are doing, then you move the temperature dial from around 2.7C to really quite close to two degrees."

He added: "It's still a fair way off from the Paris Agreement target, but it is a really major development."

Researchers warned that while their results represent hope for the future, there's still a lot of work to do before humanity can rest easy.

In particular, while nations' long term climate targets are positive, many still fall wide of the mark when it comes to their short term targets.

"Countries have not yet adjusted their short-term actions to be on a pathway towards the long-term target," said Niklas Höhne, from the NewClimate Institute, who also works on the Climate Action Tracker.

"Long-term targets are easier, they are far away. But short-term actions are happening right now and they affect citizens, they affect voters. And that's this is much more difficult," he told BBC News.

In other news, a tectonic plate under the Indian Ocean is slowly breaking in two, according to research.

Climate change could render a fifth of the planet as hot as the Sahara Desert by 2070, according to a new study.

And, Nasa scientists thought they'd found evidence of a bizarre parallel universe but now other experts are castings doubts.

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