Key climate panel, citing impending crisis, urges crash effort to reduce emissions

09 October, 2018, 14:13 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Lovelyn Cesar 22 carries her one year old baby Matthew as she cross a flooded street in a suburb of Manila after two histor

When the target was put into the Paris Agreement, relatively little was known about the climate risks that would be avoided in a 1.5C warmer world compared with a 2C warmer world, or about the action needed to limit temperature rises to that level. In the 728-page document, the United Nations organisation 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 1° Celsius.

This would mean replacing petrol and diesel cars with electric vehicles or other clean alternatives and scrapping the use of gas boilers in homes in just a few decades.

The IPCC met last week in Incheon, South Korea to finalize the report, prepared at the request of governments in 2015 to assess the feasibility and importance of limiting warming to 1.5C. "Many land and ocean ecosystems and some of the services they provide have already changed due to global warming (high confidence)".

While 1.5°C rise in global temperature will be precarious, a 2°C rise would be catastrophic.

That could reduce flooding and give the people that inhabit the world's coasts, islands and river deltas time to adapt to climate change.

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The launch of the report will spark renewed calls for governments around the world to act. "It is crucial to keep temperature rise well below 1.5 degrees without offsetting, carbon markets, and geoengineering, but the evidence presented by the IPCC shows that there is a narrow and shrinking window in which to do so".

Virtually every path to hold the increase to 1.5 or 2 degrees includes strategies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere either through reforestation or through technology that captures CO2 and stores it underground or uses it in industrial processes. Usage of coal as an electricity source would also have to take a significant plunge to make room for renewable energy, such as wind and solar, Davenport reports.

Scientists have been sounding the alarm on climate change for decades, yet global emissions are expected to rise again in 2018.

It warns the world is well off track to keep to the 1.5C limit.

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.

Analysts see a future for Australian coal miners, despite declining investment in new coal-fired power plants and a global climate change body's report on the dire consequences of global warming. The conclusions are based on an analysis of more than 6,000 climate separate studies.

Carbon emissions need to reach "net zero" by 2050 and almost halve from 2010 levels by 2030. More than 1,000 scientists reviewed the findings.

Keeping the 1.5C target would keep the global sea level rise 0.1 metre lower by 2100 than a 2C target, the report states.

Scientists with the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC said in order to have even a 50-50 chance of staying under the 1.5 degree cap, the world must become "carbon neutral" by 2050.

The IPCC report incorporates recent research suggesting that the amount of carbon that humanity can emit while limiting warming to 1.5 °C might be larger than previously thought.

The decisions we make today are critical in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future, said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II. We expect to lose 75 to 90 percent of coral reefs by 1.5°C; at 2.0 °C, that number is over 99 percent.

"We need to extend this kind of progress on renewables to other areas".

Even in the best-case scenario, where global warming is capped at 1.5 °C by the end of the century, its effects will most likely be devastating.

California's governor said during scorching wildfires this summer that "since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven't had this kind of heat condition, and it's going to continue getting worse and that's the way it is" because of climate change. The technology to do this is in the early stages of development and many researchers say it could be hard to develop it for use on a global scale. Different set of actions lead to varying costs of action, impacts for different countries.

In short, the report's answer for governments is that limiting warming to 1.5 °C would come with large benefits, and it is still technically possible.


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