Monday, 22 October, 2018

'Unprecedented' Climate Action Needed To Save Planet, Dire Report Warns

Planet has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn 'Unprecedented' Climate Action Needed To Save Planet, Dire Report Warns
Kristen Harrington | 10 October, 2018, 01:46

They say the global community should focus less on how much carbon can still be emitted and more on setting concrete timelines for transitioning to a net-zero carbon world.

The Council today adopted conclusions on climate change which emphasise the unprecedented urgency which is needed to step up global efforts to avoid the risky effects of climate change.

The IPCC climate change report makes it clear that the world will witness greater sea level rise, higher frequency of droughts and floods, and heatwaves and countries like India with large populations dependent on the agricultural and fishery sectors, would be highly impacted, an environmental think-tank on Monday said.

Half a degree more (about.9 F) might sound small.

- Seas would rise almost 4 inches (0.1 meters) less. It would cut in half the number of animals and plants that would lose habitats with the attendant risk of extinction.

- The West Antarctic ice sheet might not kick into irreversible melting.

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One of the authors of the report quoted earlier, who did not wish to be named, said, "The US had issues with the conclusions, but finally the report were endorsed by all nations".

Limiting warming to 0.9 degrees from now means the world can keep "a semblance" of the ecosystems we have. Without an active participation of the U.S., this will be impossible. It's called the 2-degree goal. The 1.5 was at the urging of vulnerable countries that called 2 degrees a death sentence.

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?

The IPCC report underwent an extensive peer-review process that elicited tens of thousands of comments and includes a special "summary for policymakers" that resulted from discussions among scientists and government officials last week in Incheon, South Korea, the Post reports.

Another recent report from the consulting firm PwC makes it clear that even limiting warming to 2 degrees C will be a stretch: "There seems to be nearly zero chance of limiting warming to well below two degrees (the main goal of the Paris Agreement), though widespread use of carbon capture and storage technologies, including Natural Climate Solutions, may make this possible", it says. 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.

The report further revealed that global warming has already had an effect in regions across the world.

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Narain said the focus must now be on how the world can build a coalition to support the massive transformation required to achieve the 1.5°C target. He likened the report to an academic exercise wondering what would happen if a frog had wings.

Limiting warming to 1.5°C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III Jim Skea said. "It's now their responsibility.to decide whether they can act on it".

Current government commitments to curb climate change under the Paris pact, even if fully met, would still leave the world on track for warming of about 3 degrees Celsius, scientists said. By the year 2030, global human-caused emissions of Carbon dioxide would need to fall by roughly 45 percent relative to 2010 levels. Emissions of other greenhouse gases, such as methane, also will have to drop.

Well, lower carbon emissions for a start. As many as 10 million fewer people would be exposed to risks like flooding. "Each year that the global economy fails to decarbonize at the required rate, the two-degree goal becomes more hard to achieve". The report said warmer water coral reefs "will largely disappear".

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

The report landed on the same day that the Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics to two American scientists for their work highlighting the role of government policy in promoting sustainable economic growth.

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