United Nations report on global warming carries life-or-death warning
United Nations report on global warming carries life-or-death warning
Landmark UN climate report warns time quickly running out
08 October, 2018, 18:43
Temperatures could rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius as soon as 2030 if global warming continues at its current pace and the world fails to take rapid and unprecedented measures to stem the increase, experts warned in a landmark United Nationsreport on Monday.
Before the Paris Agreement was inked in 2015, almost a decade of scientific research rested on the assumption that 2C was the guardrail for a climate-safe world.
"The next few years are probably the most important in human history", Debra Roberts, head of the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department in Durban, South Africa, and an IPCC co-chair, told AFP news agency.
More than 90 scientists wrote the report, which is based on more than 6,000 peer reviews.
Monday's "Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees", prepared at the request of governments which signed the 2015 Paris Agreement, outlines the impact of global warming of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels and steps needed to contain warming at that level.
The Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its gloomy report at a meeting in Incheon, South Korea.
The lower target would also reduce species loss and extinction and the impact on ecosystems, the report said. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2 °C.
Hans-Otto Portner, a bioscientist and member of one of the IPCC working groups, said: "Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems".
Numerous countries adding coal power are doing so to bring electricity to people who don't have access to secure power sources now. The report also examines pathways available to limit warming to 1.5 °C, what it would take to achieve them and what the consequences could be.
Catherine Abreu, executive director of the Climate Action Network Canada, said the difference between 1.5 C and 2 C may not seem like much but it is actually "huge" when it comes to climate change.
Yet, to limit global warming to below 1.5°C, drastic action is needed in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport and city policy, the IPCC said.
Carbon dioxide emissions need to fall about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and to "net zero" - so no more is being put into the atmosphere than is being removed by measures such as planting trees - by 2050, while other greenhouse gases will also need to decline steeply.
Tomorrow, October 9, the Environment Council of the European Union would meet to discuss Carbon dioxide emission standards, climate change and biodiversity.
The report points out that the risk transition from 1.5 degree Celsius to 2 degree Celsius is very high and that the effects at 2 degree Celsius will be more devastating than what IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report had indicated.
But the report warned such techniques were still unproven at a large scale and could carry significant risks for sustainable development.
In the 728-page document, the United Nations organization detailed how Earth's weather, health and ecosystems would be in better shape if the world's leaders could somehow limit future human-caused warming to just a half degree Celsius from now, instead of the globally agreed-upon goal of one degree. "This report gives policymakers and practitioners the information they need to make decisions that tackle climate change while considering local context and people's needs".
The IPCC, an global consortium comprised of hundreds of climate change researchers assembled by the United Nations, said "the next few years are probably the most important in our history".
The IPCC's next major report will appear in 2022.
Working Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II addresses impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III deals with the mitigation of climate change.
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