The latest round of United Nations climate talks ended last weekend with a deal to keep the Paris climate accord on track – leaving many scientists and environmentalists feeling relieved. But it is not clear whether governments will meet the commitments to cut greenhouse-gas emissions that they outlined three years ago in Paris.
The world can expect to see dramatic damage from warming of just 1.5 °C — including rising seas and more-intense flooding, wildfires and drought — the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in October. Only aggressive action to curb emissions would prevent a host of adverse impacts on people and the planet, the IPCC report said. Nations would need to roughly halve their emissions by 2030 to maintain a real chance of limiting warming to 1.5 °C.
At the Katowice climate talks, many countries sought to formally endorse the IPCC report. But a handful of nations that rely heavily on the production of fossil fuels — including the United States, Saudi Arabia and Russia — objected. A compromise text expressed “appreciation and gratitude” to the IPCC for the report.