We only have 3 years left to turn the corner on global warming

The next three years will effectively decide the fate of our planet's climate. This is the stark message of a new commentary in the journal Nature by several high-profile climate scientists and policy makers.

The paper provides detailed sector by sector goals for electric vehicles, power plants, transportation, and more, showing where each needs to be by 2020 in order to greatly lower emissions of greenhouse gases and adhere to the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The milestones outlined in the commentary - written by some heavy hitters in the climate and energy world - are ambitious, in some cases extremely so, considering the pace of decarbonization at this point in time.

Former UN climate negotiations chief Christiana Figueres, one of the authors of the commentary, is kicking off a new initiative known as Mission 2020.

This proposal is aimed at fundamentally bending the curve of global emissions of greenhouse gases downward by 2020, just three years from now.

Figueres acknowledged this is a tall order, but said it's also achievable given recent trends.

"We are now fortunately at the point where we are being propelled forward by the pull of the market and certainly not the push of politics or ideology," Figueres said during a press call on Wednesday.

"This is a very unique situation in which we have tailwind on climate change as opposed to headwind. That is the only global issue globally where we have not just tailwind now but also an increasing speed of tailwind," Figueres added.

The Paris Agreement set goals of limiting global warming to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to preindustrial levels by the year 2100.

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