Scientists warns about Rise in Ocean Level by 2100
GS Paper III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Context: Recently, scientists has warned about a rise in the level of oceans by as much as 1.3m by 2100 if the Earth’s Surface warms another 3.5 degrees Celsius.
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Details of the Warning about rise in Ocean Level
- According to the scientists, by 2300, ice sheets covering West Antarctica and Greenland will have shed trillions of tonnes in mass.
- Sea levels could then go up by more than 5 meters under that temperature scenario.
- As a result of this rise in Ocean level, planet’s coastline will be redrawn.
- About 10% of the world’s population today live on land less than 5 meters above the high tide line.
- Across the 20th century, the rise in sea level is caused mainly by melting glaciers and due to expansion of ocean waters as it warms.
- But over the last two decades, the main driver has become the melting and disintegrating of Earth’s two ice sheets.
- Greenland and Antarctica are shedding at least 6 times more ice today than during the 1990s.
- From 1992 through 2017 they together lost about 6.4 trillion tonnes in mass.
- It is also to be kept in mind that the Greenland and West Antarctica ice sheets hold enough frozen water to life oceans about 13 meters.
- East Antarctice, which is more stable, holds another 50meter’s worth capacity.
- Over the last decade, the sea level has gone up about 4 mm per year.
- Moving into the 22nd century, the waterline could rise 10 times faster as per the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
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PRELIMS Background Bites
The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty which extends the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that commits state parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the scientific consensus that (part one) global warming is occurring and (part two) it is extremely likely that human-made CO2 emissions have predominantly caused it.
- The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005.
- There are currently 192 parties (Canada withdrew from the protocol, effective December 2012) to the Protocol.
- The Protocol is based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
- The Kyoto Protocol applies to the six greenhouse gases listed in Annex A:
- Carbon dioxide (CO2)
- Methane (CH4)
- Nitrous oxide (N2O)
- Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
- Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
- Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
THE PARIS AGREEMENT
The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) signed in 2016. It deals with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance.
- The agreement’s language was negotiated by representatives of 196 state parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Le Bourget, near Paris, France, and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015.
- The Paris deal is the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement.
- As of February 2020, all UNFCCC members have signed the agreement, 189 have become party to it, and the only significant emitters which are not parties are Iran and Turkey.
KEY OBJECTIVES AND PLANS
The Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. It also aims to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 °C, recognizing that this would substantially reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
- Under the Paris Agreement, each country must determine, plan, and regularly report on the contribution that it undertakes to mitigate global warming.
- There is no mechanism forces a country need to set a specific emissions target by a specific date, but each target should go beyond previously set targets.
- In June 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the agreement.
- This strategy involved energy and climate policy including the so-called “20/20/20 targets”, namely the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 20%, the increase of renewable energy’s market share to 20%, and a 20% increase in energy efficiency.
- Contributions each individual country should make to achieve the worldwide goal are determined by all countries individually and are called nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
- The contributions should be reported every five years and are to be registered by the UNFCCC Secretariat.
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