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Time Magazine 22nd November 2021 Double Issue

In a surprise announcement during the opening days of COP26—the U.N. climate summit taking place in Glasgow over the first two weeks of November—India, the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2070. The announcement means that all five of the world’s largest emitters now have a net-zero target—a date by which they intend to add no more carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than they take out. Climate scientists say the world needs to cut human caused CO₂ emissions by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, and reach net zero around 2050, lest global warming rise more than 1.5°C above pre industrial levels. That’s the point at which climate- change impacts become much worse for much of the world; avoiding it was the aim of the 2015 Paris Agreement—the result of the last major U.N. summit. And with a flurry of similar pledges made by countries before or during COP26, 87% of the world’s greenhouse- gas emissions—and 89% of its economy—are now covered by net-zero targets, although with differing time frames.

That’s a seismic shift in global climate politics. In less than a decade, “net-zero emissions” has gone from being a concept used by scientific researchers to a vague mention in the Paris Agreement to an established goal for nearly 139 nations—including some which have been previously most resistant to climate action. Time Magazine 22nd November 2021 Double Issue


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