Planet has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn
Oct 09 2018
Without aggressive action, the world could become an nearly impossible place for most people to live in, says Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland in St Lucia, Australia.
The report was meant to ring alarm bells about global warming, noting that temperatures are likely to be 1.5 degrees higher by 2030 to 2052 based on current commitments to reduce emissions made under the Paris deal. The report draws on research conducted since nations unveiled the 2015 Paris climate agreement, which seeks to curb greenhouse-gas emissions and limit global temperature increase to between 1.5 and 2 °C. To hit and keep that 1.5 degrees target, net anthropogenic Carbon dioxide emissions must come down 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero around 2050.
Limiting warming to 1.5°C by making green changes in energy consumption, land and water use and transportation can help mitigate the potential damage to an extent.
"This is concerning because we know there are so many more problems if we exceed 1.5 degrees C global warming, including more heatwaves and hot summers, greater sea level rise, and, for many parts of the world, worse droughts and rainfall extremes", Andrew King, a lecturer in climate science at the University of Melbourne, said in a statement.
We must limit global warming to 1.5°C rather than the previously agreed cap of 2°C to avoid extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty, according to a landmark climate report released this morning.
The Paris Agreement was adopted by 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2015, and created to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change. 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.
Written by 91 authors and review editors from 40 countries, the report also features 133 contributing authors, over 6,000 scientific references and was subject to 42,001 expert and government review comments before publication.
The basic gist is hardly surprising-the impacts of 1.5°C warming are slightly less than 2.0°C, and it's harder to cut greenhouse gas emissions fast enough to meet the lower target. In Kenya alone, 1.7 million heads of cattle will be lost to these conditions, an equivalent of US$680 million today.
It will also require action to take excess carbon emissions out of the atmosphere, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report said. Instead, it questioned the science, challenged the link between poverty and climate change, opposed inclusion of equity in the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) and reiterated that it intends to pull out of the Paris Agreement, or be open to renegotiation at terms favourable to Americans.
The report also highlights the risk to further investments in natural gas-fired power plants and suggests that more of them should be replaced by renewables, said Han Chen, who follows energy finance for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Corals have already been battered by our current rise in global temperatures, which has risen by 1°C over the past 150 or so years.
Global Warming of 1.5 °C is the first in a series of Special Reports to be produced in the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Cycle. Any additional carbon dioxide emissions would require removing the harmful gas from the air. "Every bit of extra warming makes a difference", said Abdalah Mokssit, director of Morocco's National Meteorological Department and IPCC secretary.
But the report said some measures, such as planting forests, bioenergy use or capturing and storing CO2, remained unproven on a large scale and carried some risks.
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change was expected to produce a new urgency but the USA pullout from the accord dented those hopes.
But really whacky ideas, such as blocking out the Sun, or adding iron to the oceans have been dismissed by this IPCC report. "The next few years are probably the most important in our history". Trillions of dollars will soon be invested in new infrastructure; if we make the wrong choices, they'll be locked in, according to the same recent report.