Leaked U.N. climate change draft warns of natural disasters, but is it moot at this point?

Published on September 3, 2019

In a leaked draft obtained by the AFP, an international news agency, the United Nations Climate Report claims an increase of oceans rising and warming is “poised to unleash misery.”

The 900-page report written by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced then Earth may experience a decline in fish stocks, a 100-time increase of damage by natural disasters along with millions of people being displaced, which are all said to be irreversible catastrophes.

If there is little to no cutback on man-made emissions, then billions of tons of carbon will be emitted by the end of the century, thus expediting global warming.

Experts predict that if at least 30 percent of glaciers melt, this will lead to worldwide flooding, which will be followed by a drought expected to affect billions of individuals. It also says “even if the world manages to cap global warming at 2º Celsius, the global ocean waterline will rise enough to displace” 280 million people.

Ben Strauss, the CEO and chief scientist of Climate Central said: “even if the number is 100 or 50 million by 2100, that’s still a major disruption and a lot of human misery.”

The United States, China, the European Union and India – better known as ‘The Big Four’ – constitute almost 60 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

U.S. wants out

United States President Donald Trump did not attend the G7 climate meeting and has made it clear he wants the U.S. to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, which was an accord signed in April 2016 by 174 countries and the European Union to fight against global warming.

Despite billions of dollars invested in cities such as New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, many believe this will not be enough to stop the damage that will occur from natural disasters by the end of the century.

Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, said “the U.S. is not ready for a meter of sea-level rise by 2100. Just look at what happened in the wake of superstorm Sandy, Katrina, in Houston or Puerto Rico.”

India has recently started to invest more in solar power than coal and has become the world’s cheapest producer of solar power.

The European Union has pledged to cut carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 but several countries are preventing them from reaching their goal.

China is the world’s leader in total CO2 emissions with an estimated 9040.84 million metric tons per year as of 2015, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Chinese coastal cities such as Shanghai, Ningbo, and Taizhou are expected to be entirely flooded by 2100 if carbon emissions are not reduced in the region and Greenpeace International analyst Li Shuo said the nation is “gradually moving away from environmental issues, and climate change in particular” as they continue to prioritize their economy.

The conclusion of the draft emphasizes that humanity must change the way it produces and wastes the majority of resources in the world to avoid a rapid increase in climate change. The reports primary focus centers around the cryosphere, or the Earth’s frozen water.

Previous reports regarding climate change focused on ways to make sure global warming does not exceed an increase of 1.5º Celsius.

In the past century, our planet’s average temperature has increased by 1º Celsius and could possibly be tripled by the end of the 21st century.

The IPCC released a statement saying the drafts should not have been leaked and they “are not intended for public distribution” as they were “works in progress.”

Government officials will meet in Monaco, a Western European country, this month to finalize the draft. The official report will be released on September 25th.

Looking for more coverage on how brands are affected by climate change? Take a look at the archives, here.

Faisal Quyyumi is a News Columnist at Grit Daily. He is a Production Assistant at CNN and a former Production Intern for The Daily Show w/ Trevor Noah at Comedy Central.

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