Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Absolute commitment needed for climate response

Absolute commitment needed for climate response

To rise to the challenge, society would have to enact "unprecedented" changes to how it consumes energy, travels and builds to meet a lower global warming target or it risks increases in heat waves, flood-causing storms and the chances of drought in some regions as well as the loss of species.

The UN-backed study said the impacts of climate change, from droughts to rising seas, will be less extreme if temperature rises are curbed at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels than if they climb to 2C.

In the report, it is noted that limiting global warming would give people and the ecosystem more room to adapt and remain below the risk threshold.

It will be one of the main items discussed at a global conference in Poland in December, when governments will review the Paris Agreement (which the United States withdrew from in June 2017).

According to the IPCC, over 6,000 research papers were assessed, 42,000 comments were received in the three reviews resulting in a report that had 91 authors and editors of whom 32% were women and 68% were men from across 40 countries.

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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.

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.

The world has seen 1C of warming so far, with consequences such as more extreme weather already being felt, and there is more to come as temperatures continue to rise, the report said.

Global temperatures have risen 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, researchers said, citing human activity and greenhouse gas emissions.

Another says an ice-free Arctic Ocean during summer could happen once per century with a 1.5 degree rise as opposed to at least once per decade if temperatures go up two degrees. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5 °C, whereas virtually all ( 99 percent) would be lost with 2 °C. Some HFCs have a global warming potential more than 11,000 times that of CO2.

Earth will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold by 2030
Coral reefs would decline by 70% to 90% instead of being nearly completely wiped out. The next few years are probably the most important in our history", she said.


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". CO2 emissions would need to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching "net zero" around 2050. Any additional emissions would require removing Carbon dioxide from the air. "What we've done is said what the world needs to do", Imperial College London's Jim Skea, cochair of the IPCC panel, said at a press conference. Halting global warming would mean half as many people on Earth would suffer from lack of water and that there would be fewer deaths and illnesses from heat, smog and infectious diseases, according to the report.

Labor frontbencher Penny Wong said climate wars inside the coalition government can not be allowed to hold Australia back any longer.

"The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate", said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, another co-chair of the IPCC's Working Group I.

The IPCC report found that Australia was responsible for approximately 1 per cent of global emissions despite accounting for only 0.3 per cent of the global population.

Importantly, today's report also shows that 1.5 degrees is possible.

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Robin Wright, a scholar at the Wilson Center think tank and close friend of the missing writer, said that's unlikely to change. On Wednesday, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said the United States "had no advance knowledge" of such a plan.


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