Meeting Climate Goals Was Always Hard. Without the U.S., It’s Far Harder.

In Environment On

But what’s now very much in question is whether the world can still meet its broader climate goals. The Earth has already warmed 1 degree since humans began burning fossil fuels, and countries have dithered so long in taking action that little short of a crash program to choke off the flow of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would keep the temperature rise well below 2 degrees.

Analyses by Mr. Peters and others have found that the United States, Europe and other wealthy nations would need to sharply accelerate their efforts and shift to a near-zero-carbon economy by midcentury. That would include steps like phasing out coal plants and gasoline-burning cars within mere decades. Poorer countries like China and India would need to quickly follow, even as they faced the task of lifting millions out of poverty.

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