Report warns of global repercussions on climate warming

A chart that's part of a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows a range of global warming pos

Landmark UN climate report warns time quickly running out

Global warming is expected to exceed 1.5 degrees between 2030 and 2052 if it continues at current rates, reinforcing the urgency of emissions cuts.

The report was requested when the worldwide community came together in December of 2015 for the Paris agreement, which aims to keep global warming within this century "well below" 2°C, with an ultimate target of 1.5°C.

The report is seen as the scientific guide for policymakers on how to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement, which pledged to keep the temperature rise between 1.5°C and 2°C.

Limting global warming to the newly-agreed target of 1.5°C is "possible within the laws of chemistry and physics", co-chair of IPCC Working Group III Jim Skea said of the shift.

While more than 180 countries have accepted the report's summary, the United States (which is the second biggest emitter in the world) said that their acceptance of the report does not "imply endorsement" of the findings. For example, with 1.5 degrees C of warming, sea levels are projected to rise 26 to 77 centimeters by 2100; going to 2 degrees C adds another 10 centimeters, which would affect an additional 10 million people living in coastal regions. Of note, the report says the world is already more than halfway to the 2.7 degree mark, and it said the USA could lose up to 1.2 percent of gross domestic product for every 1.8 degrees of warming.

Also, coral reefs would decline by 70-90 per cent with global warming of 1.5 degrees, while a two-degree increase would wipe them all out.

"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 IPCC Working Group II.

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C reduces risk of rising ocean temperatures and salinity, thereby making marine ecosystems less vulnerable.

The "good" news is that this report slightly raised the estimated amount of greenhouse gas we can emit before crossing the 1.5°C or 2.0°C limits (in line with recent research we have covered).

Carbon emissions must fall by 45pc by 2030, reaching "net zero" by 2050. By 2050, we would have to hit net zero emissions-any remaining emissions would have to be counteracted by active removal of Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

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Yesterday's report, released by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), made one thing very clear: we only have about 12 years left to actually get it together and avoid the most severe harms of climate change.

If the global temperature temporarily exceeds 1.5 C, there may be a greater reliance on techniques that remove Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to return global temperature to below 1.5 C by 2100. The report notes that one proposed approach, bioenergy with carbon capture, in which trees or other crops are grown on vast plantations, then burned in power plants that capture carbon emissions and store them underground, could encroach on agricultural land and undermine food security.

Preventing an extra single degree of heat could make a life-or-death difference in the next few decades for multitudes of people and ecosystems on this fast-warming planet, an global panel of scientists reported on Sunday.

This is the crux of the United Nations climate change science panel report that all the countries accepted on Saturday after a contentious and strenuous meeting between scientists and diplomats in Korea. "The next few years are probably the most important in our history".

The report elicited dramatic response, with leaders such as Andrew Steer, president and CEO at World Resources Institute, calling it "a wakeup call for slumbering world leaders".

Some impacts of climate change show particularly large jumps between 1.5 and 2.0°C.

Considering the scale and intensity of devastation that 1.5°C temperature rise can cause, the focus of the upcoming discussions must only be on this target instead of 2°C as only the rich would survive in a world that is warmer by 2°C and the poor would be drowned. The Paris agreement committed to limit warming to well below 2 degrees, and pursue the even harder goal to limit it to 1.5 degrees.

Based on more than 6 000 peer-reviewed studies, the 20-page bombshell will make for grim reading when it is released on Monday.

While such actions are scientifically feasible, even IPCC experts conceded that the political will needed to force through such changes would be colossal.

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