We are nowhere near reaching the target to limit average global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, and the world is on track to be 3C warmer.
- Half as many people would suffer from lack of water.
- The West Antarctic ice sheet might not kick into irreversible melting.
Science shows that nothing does more to cause climate change than burning coal, a former head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Tuesday, a position in contrast to President Donald Trump's pro-fossil fuel policies. While the United Nations panel says technically that's possible, it saw little chance of the needed adjustments happening.
The report lists various scenarios that might occur if the world hit 2 degrees of warming. At 2 degrees, that will be more like once per decade.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, requested by governments, was issued ahead of a United Nations conference in December in Poland that will consider how to increase country ambitions to cut emissions and manage climate risks better.
Average global temperatures have already soared by an average of 1 degree since the start of the 20th century.
Most worryingly, the IPCC's report claims that this 1.5°C increase could be reached in as little as 11 years, and nearly certainly within 20 years. A problem with the Paris accord is that the pledges made do not get the world anywhere near cutting carbon emissions to zero by mid-century, which is what is needed to curb warming to 1.5C. It's therefore important for all the nations to make efforts towards limiting the warming.
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One of them, who didn't want to be identified, told The Hindu that the report gave a more comprehensive assessment of the differences in a 1.5C world and 2C world and quantified the carbon dioxide that would need to be removed from the atmosphere to achieve this. He likened the report to an academic exercise wondering what would happen if a frog had wings.
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This goal will require aggressive efforts by countries. "It's now their responsibility.to decide whether they can act on it". "This is our chance to decide what the world is going to look like".
Professor Jim Skea, from Imperial College London and one of the report researchers, said: "The changes that would be needed to keep global warming to 1.5C are really unprecedented in terms of their scale". These heat-trapping gases are the byproduct of industrial processes such as refrigeration and can be eliminated from those processes by re-engineering. One recent report calculated the benefits at $26 trillion.
According to Durwood Zaelke, founder of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, speaking to The Guardian in the wake of the latest IPCC report, it "fails to focus on the weakest link in the climate chain: the self-reinforcing feedbacks which, if allowed to continue, will accelerate warming and risk cascading climate tipping points and runaway warming".
Well, lower carbon emissions for a start.
Meeting the tougher-to-reach goal "could result in around 420 million fewer people being frequently exposed to extreme heat waves, and about 65 million fewer people being exposed to exceptional heat waves", the report said.
But as Jamie Henn, co-founder and the program director for the global climate group 350.org, stated in a tweet on Tuesday, the "scariest thing about the IPCC Report" is the fact that "it's the watered down, consensus version".
Coral and other ecosystems are also at risk.