United Nations climate report calls for immediate action to curb global warming

Mindy Sparks
October 10, 2018

Any additional emissions would require removing Carbon dioxide from the air. By midcentury, we have to reach net zero emissions.

Meeting the 1.5C limit would demand "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented change in all aspects of society", the panel said. And right now, we're not anywhere close to the path to make it happen. The world's top climate scientists this weekend declared that keeping temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius is no longer sufficient.

The 2015 Paris Accord (which no major industrialised country is now on track to meet) set out to prevent more than 2 degrees Celsius warming from preindustrial times.

The report is seen as the main scientific guide for government policymakers on how to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement during the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December.

As internationally recognized scientist Johan Rockström reportedly told the Guardian, "Climate change is occurring earlier and more rapidly than expected". This timeline should be strict enough to work with any range of carbon budgets thought to be consistent with the 1.5 C goal. By 2100, global sea level rises would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C, and coral reefs would decline by 70-90% with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (99%) would be lost with 2ºC.

- Half as many people would suffer from lack of water. The risk to fisheries would be lower.

The IPCC's "Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees" was released in Incheon, South Korea, on Monday via a livestream Internet broadcast.

It warns a further increase to two degrees Celsius would greatly increase the number of natural disasters.

"We have not identified any pathways that get to 1.5 degrees Celsius without some kind of carbon dioxide removal", Skea said.

Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees would also give the world a better chance of avoiding major tipping points like the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. In the United Kingdom, emissions have fallen by more than 40 per cent since 1990 and renewables have risen to more than 30 per cent of the electricity generation mix from only 5 per cent a decade ago. In the years since the last assessment report, numerous independent studies have attempted to refine the carbon budget for both the 1.5 and 2 C targets, some arriving at larger budgets and others at smaller ones.

World leaders could reverse the damage (to the tune of trillions of dollars), but that would depend largely on whether lawmakers want to invest in the cause. Vestas, says Zevin in a recent report, "has led research and development" to reduce the cost of wind power, approaching parity with traditional energy sources on a level cost basis.

The world needs to make decisions now for the future. We need to invest in new technology and new training, and we need to ensure access to clean, reliable energy for all to lift even more people out of poverty.

"While the pace of change that would be required to limit warming to 1.5°C can be found in the past, there is no historical precedent for the scale of the necessary transitions, in particular in a socially and economically sustainable way", the report continues.

The IPCC warns, however, there is a stark difference between 1.5 and even 2 degrees Celsius of warming. "Each year that the global economy fails to decarbonize at the required rate, the two-degree goal becomes more hard to achieve".

But no matter how many warnings we receive - and let's be honest, at this point we have had far too many - no one is willing to put their foot down and pump the brakes. "We have a lot of the solutions available to us today", she says.

Those cities will need more support to develop cleanly, prevent disasters and adapt to climate shifts, he added.

"I just don't see the possibility of doing the one and a half" and even 2 degrees looks unlikely, said Appalachian State University environmental scientist Gregg Marland, who isn't part of the United Nations panel but has tracked global emissions for decades for the U.S. Energy Department.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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