The world is on fire, who’s going to put it out?

“It is a file of shame, cataloging the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world,” said UN Secretary General António Guterres after reading a report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

The report, which was released on April 4 and formed by world’s leading climate scientists, warns that in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, world leaders must make extreme changes immediately.

Climate change has been affecting the world at an alarming rate, causing extreme heat, sea level rise, wildfires, hurricanes and threatened ecosystems. The analysis from the UN also shows that these effects can lead to insecurities with food and water, along with increased disease. These climate change effects will reach everywhere around the globe.

According to The Boston Globe, the world has warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius (33.98 degrees Fahrenheit) since the industrial revolution and this is mainly due to the burning of coal, oil and gas.

The most recent report, which focuses on how the world can fight climate change, is one of three released by the UN. The first two discuss its causes and effects.

The Paris Agreement aims at limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (34.7 degrees Fahrenheit), however, expanding fossil fuel infrastructures, as is happening in some parts of the world, will make that goal unreachable, according to UN scientists.

Not to mention, going above that 1.5 degree level would worsen hunger, conflict, drought, destroy 70% of coral reefs, and put millions at risk for sea level rise.

The UN report warns that there is only a 38% chance of reaching this 1.5 degree goal. The only way to meet it would be by using 95% less coal, 60% less oil and 45% less gas worldwide by 2050.

This must also be done simultaneously with increasing investments in solar, wind and battery storage.

“We cannot keep warming below catastrophic levels without first and foremost accelerating the shift away from all fossil fuels, beginning immediately,” said Nikki Reisch, climate and energy program director at the Center for International Environmental Law, in a CIEL statement.

Without plans to do this, there is little hope that the global temperature will stay below a deadly 2 degrees Celsius rise. If temperatures do increase at or above that mark, it would result in more extreme weather, destroy all but 1% of the coral reefs and make many areas around the world unlivable.

All of this being said, the report also notes that global greenhouse gas emissions have slowed, instead of increasing at 2% a year, as they once were, they are increasing by 1.3%.

However, to stay within the 1.5 degree goal, emissions must decrease by 45% within this decade, according to the report. Under the current climate pledges, the goal is 14%. If there is any hope to save the planet from global warming, there must be large decreases in greenhouse gas emissions, and soon.

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