A new report by the UN’s Environment Program is shedding an unsettling new light on the current path of global warming.
Released days before world leaders meet in Dubai for the COP28 summit, the report underscores that current pledges made by countries at the Paris Agreement are not enough to keep world temperatures below the desired 1.5°C (2.7°F) rise above pre-industrial levels.
Nine days from now, leaders will meet in the United Arab Emirates city to begin sessions of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, where new agreements are expected to be set in order to avoid a climate catastrophe within this century.
The Paris Agreement was adopted by 196 countries in 2015, pledging to do what it takes to maintain global temperatures below 2° C (35.60 °F) (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels, and preferably limit the increase to 1.5 °C (2.7°F).
Yet according to UN measurements, the planet is currently on track for a temperature rise of between 2.5°C (4.5°F) and 2.9°C (5.2°F) above pre-industrial levels before 2100.
According to Antònio Guterres, secretary-general of the UN, keeping the global average below 1.5°C is still a possibility but would need extreme actions taken during this decade.
By 2030, global greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by 42% from current projections in order to reach that goal, and by 28% to keep temperatures below a 2° C (35.60 °F) increase this century.
“It requires tearing out the poisoned root of the climate crisis: fossil fuels. And it demands a just, equitable renewables transition,” said Guterres.
In spite of the warnings, demand for oil is expected to continue while oil production declines, leading companies in the oil and gas sector such as Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and ConocoPhillips Co. (NYSE:COP) to be positioned for high returns, according to analysts.
A rise of 2.9°C is believed by experts to be exponentially worse than a 1.5°C rise, and not “twice as bad” it might be intuitively thought.
As an example, the average chance of having a major heat wave “increases from around 5% over the period 1981-2010 to around 30% at 1.5°C but 80% at 3° C (37.40 °F) ,” according to Professor of Climate Change Science Nigel Arnell.
The year 2023 broke an array of records concerning climate change, registering 86 days with temperatures over 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. September of this year was the hottest month in recorded history, 1.8°C above pre-industrial levels, beating temperatures of July, when several U.S. cities experienced record heat waves.
Global records continued to be broken last week: During the weekend temperatures in Rio De Janeiro, one of the largest cities in the Southern Hemisphere, had a heat index of 137.3° F, causing a 23-year-old fan at a Taylor Swift concert to die of heat stroke, leading the artist to postpone the rest of her tour.
Stocks To Watch: ETFs grouping companies with high ESG (environmental, social, governance) values are positioned to receive extra attention from news coverage surrounding the topic of climate change during the COP28 summit, which will run between Nov. 30 and Dec. 12.
For the past 10 years, the S&P 500 ESG Index, which is designed to measure the performance of securities meeting sustainability criteria, has outperformed the S&P 500.
- The iShares ESG Aware MSCI USA ETF (NASDAQ:ESGU) is pegged to the S&P 500 ESG Index and is up 8% in the past month.
- Vanguard ESG US Stock ETF (BATS:ESGV) is up 8.7% in the past month.
- iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (NASDAQ:ICLN) is up 7.3% in the past month.
- Nuveen ESG Large-Cap Value ETF (BATS:NULV) is up 5.5% in the past month.
Produced in association with Benzinga