Scientists Warn of Disastrous Global Warming in Near Future
Scientists Warn of Disastrous Global Warming in Near Future
The Associated PressCLIMATE GOALS
10 October, 2018, 08:56
While its approaches have been identified before-including last year's Well Under 2Cstudy that we co-chaired with over 30 experts-the IPCC report should be a rallying point for nations to implement the policies needed to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. At 2 degrees, that will be more like once per decade.
The IPCC study, which took almost three years to complete and involved 91 authors from 40 countries, is the first to look in detail at the 1.5 deg C limit, which is one of the goals in the 2015 UN Paris Climate Agreement.
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". Emissions of other greenhouse gases, such as methane, also will have to drop.
"Let's not forget that Australia accounts for just over one per cent of global emissions, so there are a lot bigger players than us out there impacting on these arrangements", the PM said.
That promise came with plans to cut emissions, but now the IPCC isn't sure we'll get the job done.
"What I hope this report will do is change the discourse on mitigation, with countries understanding mitigation not as a burden but as an opportunity", said Diana Ürge-Vorsatz, vice-chair of the Working Group III.
In the IPCC's most ambitious pathway, global net human-caused emissions of Carbon dioxide would need to fall by about 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching "net zero" around 2050. The United States already leads the world in reducing carbon-dioxide emissions.
On current trends the 1.5°C threshold could be reached as early as 2030.
"The announcements and proposals made by the new administration have not been finalized, they are not based on science and the law and that is not exactly a winning formula when you go to the courts", she said.
M Rajeevan, secretary, ministry of earth sciences (MoES), says, "It's a hard target that requires all countries to come on board and make unprecedented changes but it's not impossible". With a 2°C rise, the impacts can be too serious for communities to adapt.
Its benefits would include lowering the rise in global sea level by 10 cm, the likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer once a century compared with at least once per decade and limiting the decline of coral reefs to 70-90% instead of 99%.
Still, Cleetus says that we have most of the technology we need to make the change.
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At 2 degrees C, we'd expect "disproportionately rapid evacuation from the tropics", according to the report.
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. That will cause coastlines to become inundated and storms more severe, intensifying poverty in coastal regions and islands, particularly in the tropics. "There will also be heat stress in cities and air quality will deteriorate due to high fossil fuel use".
The report is full of the by now well-known predictions of the ecological damage and economic costs of global climate change, and the results of scientific models evaluating the progress that can be achieved if, and when, certain actions are taken.
But success "depends on political leadership", he added. If not, the researchers say, the threat to people, ecosystems and sustainable development will rise to irreversible levels.
Rajeevan says India is already experiencing extreme weather events; the unprecedented rains that triggered this year's Kerala floods being an example. Even at the current level of 1°C warming, it is painful.
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