Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Earth will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold by 2030

Earth will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold by 2030

The IPCC report makes it clear that the impact of 1.5 degrees Celsius warming is greater than what was anticipated earlier while the impacts at 2°C are "catastrophic" for the poor and for developing nations like India, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said. "But doing so would require unprecedented changes".

The report is comprehensive, citing over 6,000 scientific references, and its basic message is this: limiting warming to a rise of 1.5 degrees compared with pre-industrial levels will require an unprecedented amount of effort, but a rise of 2 degrees would be far more harmful and ultimately more costly, too.

Hoesung Lee, Chair of IPCC says, "Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees is not impossible but will require unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society".

"This is concerning because we know there are so many more problems if we exceed 1.5 degrees C global warming, including more heat waves and hot summers, greater sea level rise, and, for many parts of the world, worse droughts and rainfall extremes", Andrew King, a climate science academic at the University of Melbourne, said in a statement to CNN.

While warming of 2C above pre-industrial levels has widely been thought of as the threshold beyond which risky climate change will occur, vulnerable countries such as low-lying island states warn rises above 1.5C will threaten their survival. "If you would like to stabilize global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius the key message is that net Carbon dioxide emissions at the global scale must reach zero by 2050". Coral reefs would decline by 70% to 90% instead of being nearly completely wiped out.

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Limiting global warming would also give people and ecosystems more room to adapt and remain below relevant risk thresholds, added Pörtner.

Co-chairman of the IPCC working group Jim Skea said global human-caused emissions needed to fall 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 to give the planet a chance to keep the temperature increase to 1.5C.

The study was urgent because CO2, the main greenhouse gas, reached record levels in the atmosphere previous year, and current pledges to cut emissions under the Paris Agreement would lead to warming of about 3 deg C.

"We are still going to see many challenges at 1.5°C". But the report warns that "the effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development".

"Twenty-40% of the global human population live in regions that, by the decade 2006-2015, had already experienced warming of more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial in at least one season".

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Greenpeace's Kaisa Kosonen summed up why the report matters: "Scientists might want to write in capital letters, "ACT NOW IDIOTS", but they need to say that with facts and numbers. The next few years are probably the most important in our history", she said.

The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) declared it had "high confidence" in its predictions.

"The IPCC report is a wake-up call for slumbering world leaders".

While an extra half a degree over that limit of 1.5 degrees might seem insignificant‚ a shocking landmark report just released by the United Nations has taken the world by storm‚ showing how hitting a 2 degree rise would spell doom.

Pan Africa Director of Oxfam International goes reporting: "To do nothing more and simply follow the commitments made in the Paris Agreement condemns the world to 3 degrees of warming".

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