03/01/2018 06:59 SAST | Updated 03/01/2018 06:59 SAST

Quarter Of World's Land Will Be Permanently Drier If Climate Goals Not Met: Study

'We need to stop temperatures rising by two degrees'.

If the Earth's temperature rises by 2 degrees Celsius in the next 30-some years, more than 25 percent of the earth will dry up, according to a new climate study.

Projections of 27 global climate models determined that 24 to 32 percent of the world's total land surface would suffer from aridification with a 2 degree increase, according to a Nature Climate Change study published Monday.

But efforts to limit that temperature change to only 1.5 degrees would prevent the drying out of about two-thirds of the areas that are at risk, according to the report. Major population areas, including Southern Europe, Southern Africa, Central America, coastal Australia and Southeast Asia, would be spared from significantly drying out.

The Paris climate accord set out to keep the global temperature rise below the 2 degree mark this century, aiming to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees. Yet the study predicts changes that would occur before 2070, and recommended that countries act even sooner than that to forestall increasing dryness.

Taking early action on combating temperature increases, the report added, can "markedly reduce the likelihood that large regions will face substantial aridification and related impacts."

While some countries are encouraging the world to meet these targets, the United States has relinquished responsibility in doing its share, even though Americans produce more carbon dioxide per person than any other country ― in 2014, the per capita figure was more than double that of China.

President Donald Trump, who had advocated a resurrection of the coal industry, withdrew from the climate pact in June and his administration has tirelessly worked to dismantle numerous Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

"In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year's Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against," he tweeted last week.