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Climate Change
Photo: Halldór Þorgeirsson (Screenshot from RÚV).

The Climate Disaster Has “Already Begun to Materialise”

The international community is “falling far short of the Paris goals,” a new UN report finds. “The disaster has already begun to materialise,” Halldór Þorgeirsson, Chair of Iceland’s Climate Council, told RÚV yesterday.

The 2022 Emissions Gap Report

Yesterday, October 27, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) published its 2022 edition of the Emissions Gap report. The report provides an update on the progress towards “achieving national mitigation pledges” and the goals set by the Paris Agreement by taking stock of the so-called “emissions gap.”

As noted by a UN press release, the report concludes that the international community is “falling far short of the Paris goals, with no credible pathway to 1.5°C in place.” The authors state that the only way to avoid climate disaster is via an urgent “system-wide transformation.”

Read More: The Age of Eco-Anxiety

“Global and national climate commitments are falling pitifully short,” Secretary General of the UN António Guterres stated in a video message during an introduction of the report yesterday. “We must close the emissions gap before climate catastrophe closes in on us all.”

Chair of Iceland’s Climate Council

To address the report’s findings, RÚV invited the Chair of Iceland’s Climate Council Halldór Þorgeirsson (and a retired Senior Director at the UN Climate Change Secretariat) to an interview during yesterday’s nightly news. Halldór was blunt: “These disasters have already begun to materialise, and this year, we have seen disasters that are truly man-made. The strongest example being Pakistan, and, just as bad, and nearer to home, Florida.

“These things are already manifesting in such a way that it’s no longer a question of the future. Our meagre achievements means that the window of opportunity grows ever narrower; there’s much less time. That’s why the only feasible path forward is to undertake fast and extensive system-wide transformation.”

The only way to do this, Halldór maintained, was increased investment. “These are large figures but in reality, it’s only about 2% of the total budget. So it certainly seems doable. Central banks play a big role, and we need to rethink the economy. That’s what this is about – alongside greater cooperation between nations.”

The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) will be held from November 6 to 18 in Egypt. It will mark the 27th United Nations Climate Change conference. According to Halldór, no “big decisions” are expected to be made during the conference.

“This conference will focus more on following through with the agreement,” Halldór observed. “The implementation of the Paris Agreement was concluded in Glasgow last year. During the first two days of the conference, global leaders will be present, and the messages that they send matter. All eyes will be on China. They’ve been quite reticent. Then there’s this very strong undercurrent, connected to those aforementioned disasters because one of the big questions of this conference is how we provide aid to nations who suffer such disasters.”

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