Nearly 75% of Climate Experts Blame ‘Lack of Political Will’ for High Chance of Future Warming


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Hundreds of leading climate scientists from around the world expect global temperatures to increase by at least 2.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100 — a full degree above internationally agreed targets — leading to catastrophic consequences for the planet, an exclusive poll by The Guardian has found.

All the respondents were from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Nearly 80 percent anticipated a rise to at least 2.5 degrees above the threshold, with almost half predicting a minimum three degrees of warming. Just six percent believed the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius was still a possibility.

Current policies have the world on course to warm approximately 2.7 degrees Celsius.

“Sometimes it is almost impossible not to feel hopeless and broken,” said climate scientist Ruth Cerezo-Mota, as The Guardian reported. “After all the flooding, fires, and droughts of the last three years worldwide, all related to climate change, and after the fury of Hurricane Otis in Mexico, my country, I really thought governments were ready to listen to the science, to act in the people’s best interest.”

The reasons for the failure to adequately tackle the climate crisis were clear to the experts. Nearly three-quarters said not having the political fortitude was at the forefront, while 60 percent cited corporate interests like those of the fossil fuel industry.

“We asked them what the biggest barrier to climate action was – the top choice was lack of political will,” Damien Carrington, The Guardian’s environment editor, told EcoWatch in an email.

Carrington said humans must “rapidly phase out fossil fuel burning” to curb global heating as much as possible in the short- and long-term.

Numerous scientists surveyed envisioned a “semi-dystopian” future for the planet, with heat waves causing mass migrations, increasingly frequent and extreme storms and floods, wildfires and famines.

Many said they felt hopeless, angry and frightened by governments failing to act in the face of clear scientific evidence.

“[Authorities] will be overwhelmed by extreme event after extreme event, food production will be disrupted. I could not feel greater despair over the future,” said Gretta Pecl, a professor of marine ecology at the University of Tasmania, as reported by The Guardian.

As global temperatures rise, a number of scientists said it is important to continue the climate battle since each fraction of a degree that can be avoided means less suffering.

Nearly half of the review editors and lead authors of IPCC reports contacted by The Guardian — 380 of 843 — replied.

The poll revealed that younger scientists — 52 percent of those under 50 — expected the planet’s temperatures to rise to at least three degrees Celsius.

Dr. Lisa Schipper, a professor of geography at Germany’s University of Bonn, expressed hope in the next generation for “being so smart and understanding the politics.”

Numerous respondents said inequality and the rich not being willing to aid the poor — who bear the brunt of climate impacts — contributed to the problem.

“If the world, unbelievably wealthy as it is, stands by and does little to address the plight of the poor, we will all lose eventually,” said Dipak Dasgupta of New Delhi’s Energy and Resources Institute, as The Guardian reported.

Roughly a quarter of the experts polled believed Earth’s average temperature would remain below two degrees Celsius. Some were cautiously optimistic.

“I am convinced that we have all the solutions needed for a 1.5C path and that we will implement them in the coming 20 years,” said Henry Neufeldt of the United Nations Copenhagen Climate Centre. “But I fear that our actions might come too late and we cross one or several tipping points.”

This article originally appeared on EcoWatch and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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This article originally appeared on EcoWatch and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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