The report laid out how the changes to climate, environment and human life would be less devastating and risky if the global temperature rise is contained at below 1.5 degree instead of 2 degree Celsius – the existing primary goal of the Paris Agreement.
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.
Even if warming is kept at or just below 1.5 degrees C, the impacts will be widespread and significant.
The half-a-degree difference would result in fewer people dying or being displaced from extreme heat or other severe weather, the IPCC report said.
Countries must take “unprecedented” action to slash carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and limit unsafe global warming, a key report warns.
The new report tells us that human activity has already caused about 1℃ of global warming, while at the present rate of warming (0.2℃ per decade) we’ll hit 1.5℃ by about 2040.
The latest report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is, honestly, the sort of thing that should force the world’s citizens out into the streets.
Approved by the IPCC in South Korea on Saturday ahead of COP24 in Poland in December, Global Warming of 1.5°C was produced by 91 authors and reviewers from 40 countries.
A major report on the impact of global warming, to be published on Monday, will warn about the speed and scale of measures required to keep temperature rises to a level beyond which many vulnerable countries say their survival is at risk.
To make matters worse, the world is already clocking in at 1-degree-Celsius warmer than preindustrial levels, which means we’re more than halfway there.
The IPCC’s report, released today (Monday, October 8), shows the impacts of even 1.5° of warming are far greater than previously expected, but also that it’s definitely still feasible to hold warming to that level, according to scientific research organisation Climate Analytics. It is based on more than 6,000 scientific references and contributions from thousands of experts and government reviewers around the world.
The World Coal Association disputed the conclusion that stopping global warming calls for an end of coal use. Any additional carbon dioxide emissions would require removing the harmful gas from the air. Although the report says that emissions would not be the sole contributor to temperatures above 1.5°C, the future rates of emission reductions will determine whether temps rise.
And she said: “Today’s report by the IPCC makes clear that avoiding risky climate change will require a transformational effort, and that is precisely what Labour is offering – a plan to rapidly decarbonise our energy system as part of a green jobs revolution, and a long term target of net zero emissions before 2050”.
Witness this hilarious toys-out-of-the-pram display from Alan Rusbridger, formerly the editor of the Guardian, now the head of an Oxford college, as he bewails the lack of interest in the IPCC report.
The world has reached a fork in the road with two paths ahead: a planet that’s 2°C warmer than pre-industrial levels and a planet that’s 1.5°C warmer.
That could reduce flooding and give the people that inhabit the world’s coasts, islands and river deltas time to adapt to climate change.
“Limiting global warming to 1.5 °C compared with 2 °C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals”, said Priyardarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III. If we eliminated all our emissions today, we would still see a bit more warming (as sunlight-reflecting aerosol pollution quickly washed out of the atmosphere, for example) but probably not enough to send us coasting helplessly across the 1.5°C limit.
What could a difference of 1.5C and 2C mean?
Countries in the southern hemisphere would see the most drastic effects.
“Some people say the 1.5°C target is impossible”, said Stephen Cornelius, WWF-UK’s chief adviser for climate change, and a former IPCC negotiator.
– And it just may be enough to save most of the world’s coral reefs from dying.
The London-headquartered Association noted the report concludes that achieving the 1.5 degrees goal will require global greenhouse gas emissions to start reducing nearly immediately. Transportation (and other sectors) would need to be electrified and run on the new, cleaner grid rather than on fossil fuels.
‘The faster governments phase out coal, embrace the renewable energy revolution and move to protect communities at risk, the more lives and livelihoods will be spared’.