1.5° climate warming impacts 'far greater than previously thought'

Jan Cross
October 9, 2018

The report makes it clear that climate change is already happening - and what comes next could be even worse, unless urgent worldwide political action is taken.

Limiting global warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels would be a herculean task, involving rapid, dramatic changes in how governments, industries and societies function, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The world has already warmed one degree since pre-industrial times, so the talk is really about the difference of another half-degree from now.

Impacts ranging from increased droughts and water scarcity to extreme weather, spread of diseases such as malaria, economic damage, and harm to yields of maize, rice and wheat will be less severe at 1.5C than 2C.

This is because the small island states, such as the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu, which are facing an imminent threat from rising sea levels insisted on including the 1.5C target in the Paris Agreement.

The coalition government will not renew or replace the Renewable Energy Target when it lapses in 2020.

According to NASA, global temperatures are already 0.9 degrees Celsius higher than at the end of the nineteenth century.

Lastly, to meet the 1.5°C or even the 2°C target will be a hard task.

'Right now it's hard, but not impossible, to contain climate chaos, but the window of opportunity will close for good the longer we delay'.

What does the 1.5 degree figure mean? Instead, it questioned the science, challenged the link between poverty and climate change, opposed inclusion of equity in the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) and reiterated that it intends to pull out of the Paris Agreement, or be open to renegotiation at terms favourable to Americans.

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. For many scientists, these targets are technically feasible but politically or socially unrealistic.

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Almost a decade ago, leaders of developed countries committed at the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference to mobilizing $100 billion per year of public and private finance by 2020 for climate action in developing countries.

"E$3 ven with erroneous attribution of extreme weather/climate events and projections using climate models that are running too hot and not fit for objective of projecting 21st century climate change, the IPCC still has not made a strong case for this massive investment to prevent 1.5C warming", she said on her Climate Etc. blog.

The report estimates that sea-level rise in the year 2100 would be around 10 centimeters lower in a 1.5°C world than a 2.0°C world.

"We know that emissions per capita were at their lowest level in 28 years, and emissions per capita in the year to March 2018 have fallen 36 per cent since 1990".

While warming of 2C above pre-industrial levels has widely been thought of as the threshold beyond which unsafe climate change will occur, vulnerable countries such as low-lying island states warn rises above 1.5C will threaten their survival.

It furthers the Paris Agreement of 2015, where and aim of limiting global temperature rises to "well below" 2C was set.

"There is also required by a legal duty under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 for local plans to have robust climate change mitigation policies, and the Greater Norwich Local Plan must have the toughest possible policies to support tackling this global crisis".

It warns the world is well off track to keep to the 1.5C limit.

Current annual emissions are about 42 billion tonnes, implying about a decade of pollution before "the need to go vertical" to zero emissions to keep within the temperature limit.

"Frankly, the more we are prepared to make changes to behavioural patterns that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the less we would need to rely later on more hard options that we don't yet fully understand like carbon dioxide removal", said Prof Jim Skea.

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