February 19, 2019

United Nations climate report warns of warmer earth; demands unprecedented efforts

09 October 2018, 04:14 | Devin Moran

UN climate report warns of warmer earth; demands unprecedented efforts

Climate change: Unprecedented action is required to curb temperature rise, says UN panel report

A further 0.5 degree Celsius rise would unleash more havoc, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) much-awaited "Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius" released today after week-long deliberations by government representatives from 130 countries and 50 scientists in Incheon, South Korea.

The IPCC warned that the current levels of greenhouse gas emissions will warm Earth's temperature by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius as early as 2030.

"Even at a little over 1.0°C warming, India is being battered by the worst climate extremes - it is clear that the situation at 1.5°C is going to worsen".

During that historic conference in Paris three years ago, 197 nations (over 170 states and the European Union) had adopted new targets to help curb global warming, but in a controversial move, Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out in June 2017, saying it was "unfair" to this country. "We will act like a responsible nation".

The report also waded into murky questions about ethics and values, stressing that governments must address climate change and sustainable development in parallel, or risk exacerbating poverty and inequality. It also objected to references to the emissions being reduced in keeping with the principle of equity and fairness. The Trump administration delivered notice in August 2017 that it intends to withdraw from the agreement; under the treaty withdrawal rules, the USA can't pull out until November 2019.

Avoiding global climate chaos will require a major transformation of society and the world economy that is "unprecedented in scale", the United Nations said Monday in a landmark report that warns time is running out to avert disaster.

To contain warming at 1.5C, manmade global net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions would need to fall by about 45% by 2030, the report warned.

Implementing a technique, only theoretical at the moment, of pulling the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the air by turning plants into fuel and storing some of the resulting emissions underground. On the plus side, these technologies are becoming increasingly viable, it adds.

"The report shows that we only have the slimmest of opportunities remaining to avoid unthinkable damage to the climate system that supports life as we know it", Amjad Abdulla, an IPCC board member and chief negotiator for the alliance of small island states, told Reuters news agency.

"We are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes", said Panmao Zhai, co-chair of one of the IPCC Working Groups.

This is hard, and would require rapid and unprecedented economy-wide transformation in each country.

Letting temperature rises climb more than 1.5C will lead to sea level rises, an increase in heavy rainstorms and heatwaves, more people facing water scarcity and drought, greater spread of diseases and more economic losses. With a 2°C rise, the impacts can be too serious for communities to adapt. By 2100, global sea level rises would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C, and coral reefs would decline by 70-90% with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (99%) would be lost with 2ºC.

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 Nations report on Monday.

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.

Four scenarios are modeled in the report that reflect different strategies governments could take to deliver "no or low overshoot" of the 1.5°C target.

"The science in the IPCC report on 1.5°C speaks for itself".

Without a radical course change, we are headed for an unliveable 3°C or 4°C hike.

The WWF called on the European Union to take urgent action to limit global warming to 1.5ºC, saying in a press release: "Approved by 195 governments, the report underscores the small window of opportunity we have to make immediate, deep and transformational changes - without which the world we know will be irreversibly changed".

While 1.5°C rise in global temperature will be precarious, a 2°C rise would be catastrophic. Additionally, there must be renewed emphasis on adaptation, which, as the Report says, requires transformation and incremental shifts with more finance directed towards adaptation.

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