Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Why we’re closer to climate catastrophe than we thought

UN panel urges ‘unprecedented measures’ as key halting catastrophic climate change Siegfried Modola Reuters
Guillermo Lane | 12 October, 2018, 04:15

"A key finding of the report is that 1.5°C is not a safe level of global warming; however it is much safer than 2.0 °C", Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said.

The landmark Paris Agreement adopted in December 2015 by 195 nations at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), included the aim of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change by "holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels". At 2 C, everything from melting sea ice to droughts, famines and floods will be significantly worse than at 1.5 C, the report says.

The IPCC report is undeniably grim, but its authors state that the 1.5°C target can still be met if unprecedented, wide-ranging action is taken straight away. "There is no time to waste", he said.

Jacinda Ardern says the panel of global scientists have spelled out the difference between taking the action needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius and it reaching 2 percent or higher.

"The coming period is critical". "There is extreme urgency and countries were giving their pledges after the Paris agreement and so far, the progress has not been good enough", said World Meteorological Organizations secretary, Petteri Taalas.

"The world is already experiencing the deadly effects of global warming at 1C", chief executive Caoimhe de Barra said.

By the decade 2006-2015, 20 to 40 per cent of the global population had already experienced warming of 1.5°C in at least one season. Denying the reality of climate change is not going to help anyone.

The report highlights climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared with 2ºC.

SpaceX Launch - October 7
A bright light could be seen over the southern sky in northern Nevada on Sunday night, and it came courtesy of SpaceX . SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Reveals Japanese Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa Will Fly Around the Moon on the Big Falcon Rocket .


The report summary said renewable energy would need to supply 70 per cent to 85 per cent of electricity by 2050 to stay within a 1.5C limit, compared with about 25 per cent now.

"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.

A new United Nations report warns of the unprecedented changes needed by society to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Limiting warming to 1.5C is possible but will require fast and far-reaching changes to power generation, industry, transport, buildings and potential shifts in lifestyle such as eating less meat.

Global warming, aka climate change, is caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal that release greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, which has warmed the planet to levels that can not be explained by natural causes. Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed or "overshoot" 1.5ºC would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove Carbon dioxide from the air to return global temperatures to below 1.5°C by 2100.

But the report adds: "The effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development".

A United Nations report on Monday said that temperatures are likely to rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 and 2052 if global warming continues at its current pace and if humanity fails to take rapid steps to curb the problem.

Back in 2017, President Trump pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, an environmental action accord signed by 195 nations to help stop climate change.

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