Stark warning says we have a decade to avoid catastrophic climate change

Lester Mason
October 10, 2018

In December this year, Paris Agreement signatories will gather once more at the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland to review their progress. Emissions of other greenhouse gases, such as methane, also will have to drop.

Like it or not, climate change and global warming are things that concern all of us.

Trump announced previous year that the United States would quit a 2015 global climate pact, citing concerns for the USA economy and touting fossil-fuel energy anew but alarming almost 200 signatories to the accord including close U.S. allies.

One of them, who didn't want to be identified, told The Hindu that the report gave a more comprehensive assessment of the differences in a 1.5C world and 2C world and quantified the carbon dioxide that would need to be removed from the atmosphere to achieve this.

The 1.5-degree scenario will require cutting Carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 45 percent over the 20-year period from 2010 to 2030 and to a net zero by 2050-net zero meaning that all Carbon dioxide released will need to be captured and stored or reused.

Tory challenger Jennifer Keesmaat said in a statement the city needs to move to infrastructure that encourages transportation options that result in less greenhouse gas emissions. But IPCC also adds that the effectiveness of CO2-capturing technologies is still unproven on a large-scale.

"Global warming is likely to reach 1.5 degrees C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate", the report states.

"Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5 C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems", said Hans-Otto Pörtner, co-chair of one of the IPCC groups, in a news release.

In his article, Shellenberger details the United Nations' historical distaste for nuclear power, including a 30-year-old report which advocated poor nations "sustainable" use of wood for fuel which, it said, would require a massive restructuring of the countries' agricultural economies.

Scientists recommend that up to about 3 million square miles of pasture and up to 1.9 million square miles of non-pasture agricultural land be converted into up to 2.7 million square miles for energy crops, which can be used to make biofuels. With a 2°C rise, the impacts can be too serious for communities to adapt.

Warming of 2C above pre-industrial levels had widely been thought of as the threshold beyond which risky climate change will occur, but vulnerable countries such as low-lying island states warn rises above 1.5C will threaten their survival.

Its benefits would include lowering the rise in global sea level by 10 cm, the likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer once a century compared with at least once per decade and limiting the decline of coral reefs to 70-90% instead of 99%.

Global warming of 1.5°C may force many marine species to relocate to higher altitudes and deal a blow to many ecosystems.

But we can hope that this year's Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences will motivate the people who matter: the policy makers and leaders who can use these tools to rally the power of market economics to drive action. But several studies conclude that India is vulnerable to climate change impacts. "This is a time to use our fear as fuel".

Rajeevan says India is already experiencing extreme weather events; the unprecedented rains that triggered this year's Kerala floods being an example.

Chandra Bhushan, the deputy director general of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), says, "Though it will be very hard in the current global economic system to limit warming to 1.5°C, it is not impossible". The decision to eat less meat, particularly beef, and dairy products has been identified by researchers as making a bigger impact on lowering greenhouse gas emissions than reducing flights or buying an electric auto.

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