Reports by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are considered the most authoritative, thus the most widely trusted, source of information and wisdom regarding climate change.
Its reports have repeatedly warned that a further rise in the global temperature will multiply the risks of floods, drought and heat waves worldwide.
In its most recent report, released on Monday, it again presented some stark findings, and conveyed an acute sense of urgency.
To meet the Paris Agreement's targets－holding warming to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius, while working to limit it to 1.5 above preindustrial levels－global carbon dioxide emissions will have to peak by 2025, and be cut by at least 30 percent by 2030, according to the report.
That's not a bright picture and very tight deadlines. But, as the report suggests, the situation is still manageable. But there is a caveat: the world has to appreciate the severity of the matter, and act now. Which perhaps isn't a clear and present obligation in some eyes. Political and corporate interests have no doubt got in the way of global responses to climate change and are responsible for the flip-flops in some countries' climate policies and the lackluster nature of others.
In part due to its vulnerability to extreme weather events, the harm of global warming has been felt keenly in China. Heavy losses in both lives and property caused by increasingly frequent drastic weather conditions, many in unlikely places at unlikely times－such as the fatal flooding in the Central China city of Zhengzhou last July－has been unanimously attributed to climate change. Disasters such as that have helped drive home the urgency for action.
Yet the efforts needed to get global warming under control won't be painless, which is why progress on individual countries' emissions cutting goals have been so difficult.
China made the pledge that it will peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030, and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. And strenuous endeavors are underway across the country to meet those goals.
Yet according to the UN climate report, we have only three years left to peak emissions, and eight to get emissions under proper control to meet the Paris Agreement targets. It will prove extremely challenging for a country like China to peak carbon dioxide emissions five years ahead of schedule, considering its historical reliance on fossil fuels.
The country has moved aggressively to transition from traditional energy sources such as coal, but to realize such a dramatic cut in such a short time will inevitably mean some pain will have to be endured.
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