The recently released Global Status Report indicates that the share of fossil fuels in the total global energy consumption mix has remained steady between 2009 and 2019. Coal, oil and gas accounted for 80.3% of the mix in 2009 and 80.2% of the mix in 2019. This was despite an increase in the proportion of total global energy consumption met with renewables, from 8.7% to 11.2%, across that ten-year period.
Meanwhile, new analysis by the Climate Action Tracker, has found that Paris-aligned national determination pledges are now at 2.4C, above the 2C threshold of the global climate accord.
In recent weeks, the likes of the US, Canada, and Japan have unveiled new national climate targets, and the number of countries considering a net-zero target now sits at 131, which covers 73% of global emissions. However, the analysis warns that most governments are yet to put policies in place to meet their targets, potentially putting the Paris Agreement out of sight.
Earlier this year, the UNFCCC warned that the world is falling “far short” of alignment with the Paris Agreement, despite the fact that many nations have updated their climate targets. The assessment reveals that the emissions goals, collectively, will only put the world on course to produce 1% less greenhouse gases in 2030 than it did in 2010. In comparison, the reduction will need to be 25% to meet the Paris Agreement’s 2C trajectory and 45% to achieve alignment with 1.5C.
So here we are at 1.1C with the heatwave gripping the US west breaking hundreds of temperature records, exacerbating a historic drought and priming the landscape for a summer and fall of extreme wildfire. Salt Lake City hit a record-breaking 42C, while in Texas and California, power grid operators are asking residents to conserve energy to avoid rolling blackouts and outages. And all this before the hottest part of the summer is reached.
All the news above comes as researchers from the University of Naples Federico II and INAF Capodimonte Astronomical Observatory in Italy released results of studied levels of light received by 10 potentially habitable exoplanets around different kinds of star. Finding: there is not one exoplanet found that has an atmosphere that matches Earth’s atmosphere.
Based on what we’ve observed of the thousands of planets found orbiting other stars, Earth is already a member of a relatively exclusive club. Once you’ve excluded numerous gas giants, roasted balls of rock and frozen super-Earths, there aren’t many candidates that might have the kind of biochemistry we’re familiar with.
The conclusion is clear: currently and for the foreseeable future, life has a sample size of one. The Earth is our life-support system, so if we want the human species to avoid huge, ugly dramas in the now and to avoid extinction in the short-term, then our Earth’s health takes precedence over all things.