Governments are not on track to meet a goal of the 2015 Paris agreement of capping temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) before the end of the century, a United Nations official said on Sunday ahead of climate-change talks in Bangkok this week.
Patricia Espinosa, head of the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which steers the climate talks, said both the public and private sector need to act with urgency to avoid “catastrophic effects”.
In an interview with Reuters on Sunday, Espinosa said this year’s extreme weather is just a taste of what is to come, and that she hopes the heat waves, floods and forest fires seen across the globe “will create a bigger sense of urgency.”
“1.5 is the goal that is needed for many islands and many countries that are particularly vulnerable to avoid catastrophic effects. In many cases it means the survival of those countries. With the pledges we have on the table now we are not on track to achieve those goals,”
– Espinosa told Reuters in a telephone interview on Sunday in Bangkok.
The Paris climate agreement, adopted by almost 200 nations in 2015, set a goal of limiting warming to “well below” a rise of 2 degrees C above pre-industrial times while “pursuing efforts” for the tougher goal of 1.5 degrees C.