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‘Code red for humanity’: 5 climate change facts

‘Code red for humanity’: 5 climate change facts

Effects of human-caused global warming are happening now and will only worsen if action to decarbonise is not urgently taken.

As the COP26 climate change conference gets under way in Glasgow on Sunday, world leaders will likely have their last chance to curtail the deadliest consequences of human-induced planetary warming.

Time is of the essence for unified global action as studies suggest as little as nine years remain before the most catastrophic effects of climate change take hold and are impossible to stop.

“The effects of human-caused global warming are happening now, are irreversible on the timescale of people alive today, and will worsen in the decades to come,” the US space agency NASA said.

Here are five things to know about the climate emergency as COP26 begins:

‘Catastrophic’ warming worse than ever

Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide trap heat near Earth’s surface and when they become too concentrated, global warming results

The landmark Paris climate accord in 2015 resulted in nations around the world agreeing to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) compared with the period before the start of the Industrial Revolution in 1760 in Europe and the United States.

The globe has already warmed 1C (1.8F) above preindustrial levels, and climate disasters are a result. The United Nations estimates to keep warming under 1.5C (2.7F), countries need to reach “net-zero” gas emissions by 2050. But efforts to decarbonise have badly faltered since the Paris agreement.

Global emissions would be 16 percent higher in 2030 than they were in 2010 under current national commitments – nowhere close to a 45 percent reduction by 2030 that scientists say is needed to halt climate catastrophe.

A 16 percent rise would lead to warming of 2.7C (4.9F) by the end of the century – a figure meaning life on Earth would be disastrous for millions, if not billions, of people.