United Nations report on keeping global warming down to 1.5 degrees Celsius

09 October, 2018, 06:09 | Author: Carlos George
  • A chart that's part of a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows a range of global warming pos

Scientists and representatives of 195 governments who met in South Korea as part of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have approved the report, which will prompt new calls for dramatic and urgent steps to cut emissions to zero by 2050.

In a report released late Sunday, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the global community still has a chance of limiting the average increase in temperatures to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, a goal sanctioned by the Paris climate agreement three years ago.

The Australian government says it will not phase out the use of coal-fired power, despite a new report saying its elimination is integral to limiting global warming. For example, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 centimeters lower with global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with 2 degrees Celsius.

The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century, instead of at least once per decade.

"Global warming is likely to reach 1.5 degrees C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate", the report states.

However, the IPCC report's authors said the world would face severe consequences if the great bulk of fossil fuels including coal, oil and gas, weren't left in the ground.

Lowering emissions to this degree, while technically possible, would require widespread changes in energy, industry, buildings, transportation and cities, according to the report. Any additional emissions would require removing Carbon dioxide from the air.

The report makes it clear that climate change is already happening - and what comes next could be even worse, unless urgent global political action is taken. 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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The report's full name is Global Warming of 1.5 °C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

If the global temperature temporarily exceeds 1.5 C, there may be a greater reliance on techniques that remove Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to return global temperature to below 1.5 C by 2100. The report said warmer water coral reefs "will largely disappear". The report points out that the risk transition from 1.5°C to 2°C is very high and the impact of a 2°C rise will be more devastating than what IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report had indicated. The new report explains why going that far is critical, based on a summary of recent research that shows that the impacts at 2 degrees are much worse than previously understood. IPCC assessments are a key input into the global negotiations to tackle climate change.

"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", said Amjad Abdulla, the IPCC board member and chief negotiator for an alliance of small island states at risk of flooding as sea levels rise.

Achieving the 1.5℃ target will require anthropogenic CO₂ emissions to decline by 45% by 2030 (relative to 2010).

Their concerns meant a pledge to pursue efforts to limit temperature rises to 1.5C was included - after tough negotiations - alongside the commitment to keep them "well below" 2C in the global Paris climate agreement in 2015.

Around 6 percent of insects, 8 percent of plants, and 4 percent of vertebrates are projected to be negatively affected by global warming of 1.5°C, namely by shrinking their natural geographic range, compared with 18 percent of insects, 16 percent of plants and 8 percent of vertebrates for global warming of 2°C.

One key issue will be negative emissions, large scale carbon-scrubbing technologies that can reduce the amount in the atmosphere and act to counter continued pollution.

"Frankly, we've delivered a message to the governments", Skea said at a press event, according to The Washington Post.

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