Scientists say more work is needed to slow global warming
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WASHINGTON — A team of top scientists is telling world leaders to stop congratulating themselves on the Paris agreement to fight climate change because if more isn't done, global temperatures will likely still hit dangerous warming levels in about 35 years.
Six scientists who were leaders in past international climate conferences joined with the Universal Ecological Fund in Argentina to release a brief report Thursday, saying that if even more cuts in heat-trapping gases aren't agreed upon soon, the world will warm by another 1.8 degrees by 2050.
That 1.8-degree mark is key because in 2009, world leaders agreed that they wanted to avoid warming of 3.6 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Temperatures have already risen about 1.8 degrees, so that 2-degree goal is really about preventing a rise of another degree going forward.
Examining the carbon pollution cuts and curbs promised by 190 nations in an agreement made in Paris last December, the scientists said it's simply not enough.
''The pledges are not going to get even close,'' said report lead author Sir Robert Watson, a University of East Anglia professor and former World Bank chief scientist who used to be chairman of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. ''If you governments of the world are really serious, you're going to have to do way, way more.''
If carbon pollution continues with just the emission cuts pledged in Paris, Earth will likely hit the danger mark by 2050, Watson and colleagues calculated, echoing what other researchers have found.
On Tuesday, scientists at Climate Interactive In Asheville, N.C., who weren't part of the report ran a computer simulation using pledges from the Paris pact and found that dangerous mark arrives around 2051.