COP24: 10 climate-related facts you should be aware of


For those who are not convinced yet, scientific evidence is compelling…

01Our planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 0.9 °C compared to pre-industrial averages The largest anomaly occurred in 2016, to date the warmest year on record. Moreover, out of the 19 warmest years on record, 18 have occurred since 2000.

Source: NASA

02 Global sea level has risen about 20.32 centimeters in the last century and the rising rate is increasing every year. Moreover, the rate in the last two decades is nearly double that of the last century. Rising sea level is caused by global warming and can be attributed to three main factors: thermal expansion of seawater, melting glaciers/polar ice caps and ice loss from Greenland and Antartica.

Source: NASA & National Geographic

03Scientists widely agree on the anthropogenic nature of climate change: over 97 percent of climate scientists state that climate-warming trends which occurred over the past century are mosts likely due to human activity.

Source: NASA

People and assets are at risk…

04 An estimated 800 million people are currently exposed to physical climate change impacts such as droughts, wildfires, floods, storm, extreme temperature, etc.

Source: Conservation International

05The UN Refugee Agency estimates that, since 2008, each year an average of 21.5 million people became climate migrants as they were forcibly displaced by weather-related events such as floods, storms, wildfires and extreme temperature. According to World Bank estimates, this number could increase to 143 million by 2050 in just three regions (Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America).

Source: UN Refugee Agency & Conservation International & World Bank

06According to a study published by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2015, the estimated value at risk due to climate change impacts, to the total global stock of manageable assets, ranges from $4.2 trillion to $43 trillion between today and the end of the century. To make the transition to a lower-carbon economy, an estimated $1 trillion of investments annually are required, posing significant challenges and opportunities for investors and asset managers.

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit and Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure

The Paris pledges are the fundamentals, but will not be sufficient…

07Total annual greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions reached a record high of 53.5 GtCO2e in 2017 and do not seem to peak yet. Moreover, GHG emissions increased by 0.7 GtCO2e compared to 2016. The Paris pledges are estimated to reduce global emissions in 2030 by ca. 6 GtCO2e (from an estimated 59 GtCO2e under current policies to 53 GtCO2e under the Paris Agreement). However, if we want to keep global warming below 2°C or even below 1.5°C, current ambitions need to be tripled to align with a 2°C scenario and quintupled to align with a 1.5°C scenario. Hence, based on current pledges, we face a 2030 emissions gap of respectively 13 or 29 GtCO2e.

Source: UN Environment Programme

08 The main goal of COP24 is to finalize the Paris Rulebook, which sets out the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement to ensure a just and effective energy transition. However, since current pledges are not sufficient and pose a significant emissions gap, nations will need to commit to review and revise their National Determined Contributions to align them with the required global decarbonisation target which is estimated to keep global warming well below 2°C.

09To meet the Paris pledges, the EU needs to end the use of unabated coal by 2030. This requires major actions for a number of countries such as Poland, the host of COP24, since half of the country’s total energy mix depends on coal.  This will undoubtedly impede the COP24 talks, as such a target puts an estimated 100,000 Polish jobs in the coal and energy industry at risk.

Source: Enerdata & Principles for Responsible Investment

10Belgium and France were recently faced with severe riots and strikes due to increased taxes on fossil fuels. Baring this in mind, the climate change transition does not only need to be fast, but also fair and just. COP24 will therefore also focus on the positive and negative implications of the climate transition for workers and communities, and as such, take the social dimension of the transition into account.

Source: Principles for Responsible Investment


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