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World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Petteri Taalas attends a news conference after the release of the report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, October 8, 2018.

And we're running out of time to thwart it. To do that, nations agreed to cut their emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

Several countries have advocated at the negotiations to implement the Paris Agreement that the goal should be shifted to keeping temperature rise below 1.5 degree Celsius. If we hit 2 degrees of warming, the effects will be even worse.

But he says our habits are already causing devastating impacts.

This report shows the longer we leave it to act, the more hard, the more expensive and the more risky it will be.

Temperatures are now about 1° C higher than preindustrial levels.

While much has been said about the need to limit global warming temperatures - what exactly is the difference between 2C and 1.5C and how does it impact the world?

"These systems transitions are unprecedented in terms of scale, but not necessarily in terms of speed, and imply deep emissions reductions in all sectors", the IPCC said in the report.

Still, Cleetus says that we have most of the technology we need to make the change. The atmosphere is nearly 1 degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) hotter than it was at the start of the industrial revolution, and burning more fossil fuels will accelerate the shift toward higher temperatures, the group said in its report.

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Reaffirming the Federal Government's commitment to the Paris agreement, which aims to cut 2005-level emissions 26 per cent by 2030, Environment Minister Melissa Price said the IPCC report would be considered as part of a review of Australia's contribution to global action on climate change. But if warming stops at 2 degrees, more than 99% of reefs could disappear. But that number is an average of temperatures all over the globe, so some places will become significantly hotter. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. If the earth's mean temperature rises even by half a degree after this time, the risks of drought, floods, and extreme heat are dramatically multiplied resulting in poverty for hundreds of millions of people. These factors could trigger huge migrations of people and mass extinctions of animals. "And a total wipe-out of the world's coral reefs".

The report was prepared at the request of governments when the global pact to tackle climate change was agreed in Paris almost three years ago. President Donald Trump has instead pulled the United States out of the Paris accord.

Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees would also give the world a better chance of avoiding major tipping points like the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

The outcome will determine whether "my grandchildren would get to see attractive coral reefs", Princeton's Oppenheimer said.

The tricky bit for countries remains to figure out what set of actions could keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degree Celsius.

This story originally appeared in the New York Post. "With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society".

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As that would be an "unprecedented" rate of decline, it is more likely the world will overshoot the target, then try to return to it by sucking carbon from the air, scientists said. But right now, they aren't cost-effective or efficient enough.

Working Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II addresses impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III deals with the mitigation of climate change. "There's certainly things that we'll need to invest in more to develop the next generation of solutions".


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