In the lead-up to the annual U.N. climate conference (COP28) starting next month, this forecast should put policymakers and business leaders on notice. On top of that, early analyses show the month of September breaking a global heat record by a wide margin. Yet the news is not all dread and despair. The U.N. report also touts the progress made since the Paris agreement was negotiated in 2015, including “early signs of transformation and urgency” that could remake the climate fight. To be sure, these green shoots of innovation are not enough — but they can provide evidence-based building blocks for the crucial next decade of climate action.
One glimmer of progress is that more places are starting to price carbon emissions. A market-based approach that requires those who pollute to pay for it remains the most efficient way to reduce the emissions that drive global warming, because it forces individuals and companies to think about reducing their carbon footprints without clunky government mandates.