Why you should care about half a degree of global warming


Why you should care about half a degree of global warming

The report by the United Nations body for climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warns that without "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes" the next generation will face extreme heat waves, droughts and rising sea levels while farmers battle to produce viable crops. The planet is already two-thirds of the way there, with global temperatures having warmed about 1°C above pre-industrial levels.

Tweeting shortly after the report was launched UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that it is not impossible to limit global warming to 1.5°C, according to the report.

"The next few years are probably the most important in human history", IPCC co-chair Debra Roberts, head of the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department in South Africa, told Agence France-Presse.

The newly published IPCC report highlights and compares the predicted severity of numerous climate change threats in scenarios with a 1.5°C, and 2°C temperature rise.

Last-ditch efforts to hold climate change to the most ambitious target set by governments will likely require using every available technique rather than picking and choosing the most attractive ones, climate scientists said on Monday.

Camera IconFederal Environment Minister Melissa Price.

When the target was put into the Paris Agreement, relatively little was known about the climate risks that would be avoided in a 1.5C warmer world compared with a 2C warmer world, or about the action needed to limit temperature rises to that level.

Reacting to the findings of the report, Harsh Vardhan said, "We have not been waiting for a report to take action against climate change".

US President Donald Trump has questioned the science of manmade climate change and vowed to withdraw the US, the world's second largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China, from the agreement.

And we're already seeing just how powerful climate change can be.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison stressed that the report did not "provide recommendations to Australia" and his Government's focus would be ensuring that electricity prices were lower for households and small businesses. The US has been resisting large cuts in Carbon dioxide emissions. Among them, sea level rises would be around 48cm if the temperature was 1.5C and 56cm for 2C. The new report will feed into a process called the 'Talanoa Dialogue, ' in which parties to the Paris accord will take stock of what has been accomplished over the past three years.

"Things that scientists have been saying would happen further in the future are happening now", Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, told AFP. The limited temperature increase would result in the saving of at least some of the world's coral reefs, a key ecosystem supporting global fisheries. The scientists concluded that carbon dioxide emissions should be cut 45 percent by 2030 from 2010 levels then reduced to zero by 2050.

Phasing out the burning of coal, the most carbon-intensive form for power generation, nearly entirely by the middle of the century.

The report suggests that coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all ( 99 percent) would be lost with 2ºC. "The latter would be used as part of a now nonexistent program to get power from trees or plants and then bury the resulting carbon dioxide emissions in the ground, leading to a net subtraction of the gas from the air - bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, or BECCS".

In the 728-page document, the United Nations organization detailed how Earth's weather, health and ecosystems would be in better shape if the world's leaders could somehow limit future human-caused warming to just 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (a half degree Celsius) from now, instead of the globally agreed-upon goal of 1.8 degrees F (1 degree C).

According to the IPCC's report, global warming of 1.5ºC-2°C is going to worsen the situation in the city where conditions comparable to the deadly 2015 heatwave are expected, along with unavoidable poverty and health risks that come with global warming.



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