2013 saw some of the most extreme weather the world has ever witnessed: with two hurricanes causing extreme flooding in Mexico, heat waves in Europe, Australia and Argentina as well as the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the world is at last waking up to the destructive power of climate change. With startling scientific reports as well as the clear evidence of climate chaos across the globe, 2014 is set to be pivotal with both positive and worrying predictions for the new year. Here are 4 Facts About Climate Change In 2014.
1. The World Takes Action: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has called 2014 "The Year of Climate Action": the Korean leader will be convening a climate summit in New York on the 23rd of September: "we must turn the greatest collective challenge facing humankind today," Ban Ki-Moon says, "into the greatest opportunity for common progress towards a sustainable future." The UN leader is calling on both public and private investment to halt what could be the biggest challenge humanity has faced.
2. The Developed World Disappoints: Despite the alarming state of global weather, several developed nations have reneged on emission reduction promises. Japan has dropped its reduction target from 25% to 3.8% by 2020 on the basis that it had to close its nuclear reactors after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Australia's new Prime Minister has signaled it will be weakening its reduction target by repealing carbon tax legislation. Meanwhile Canada has pulled out of the Kyoto accord.
3. The US Makes Progress: Thanks to the Obama administration's "Climate Action Plan," the United States has at last committed to significantly reducing its emissions, setting a goal of a 17 percent reduction by 2020. The US Department of State's 2014 Climate Change Report states "We have an obligation to current and future generations to take action to meet this challenge." The US has already seen a 6.5 percent reduction in CO2 emissions - 2014 will see a renewed commitment through "executive actions, grounded in existing legal authorities, that will be implemented across U.S. government agencies to reduce GHGs, prepare our cities and nation for the worsening effects of climate change, and accelerate the transition to more sustainable sources of energy."
4. Big Growth, Big Problem: Economic analysts at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have suggested that 2014 is set to be a year of great economic growth globally: "13 economies will grow faster than China in 2014" while "Sub-Saharan Africa will grow faster than global GDP." Likewise, developed countries will at last "get their mojo back": "advanced economies to contribute about 40% to global GDP growth." Yet as Business Green suggests, "the concern has to be, that with the mojo, but without a global deal, comes more emissions." Without substantial emission reduction schemes in both developing and developed economies, 2014 could easily become the year of climate disaster.
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