Urgent Action Needed to Avoid 'Unthinkable' Damage from Climate Change

Jan Cross
October 11, 2018

The report outlined the changes they believe need to be made for the temperature rise to be limited to 1.5ºC "The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to1.5ºC are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate", said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I. "The new report from IPCC has served us a final warning that we must get our act together - now and quickly", said Sunita Narain, Director General, CSE.

The report is comprehensive, citing over 6,000 scientific references, and its basic message is this: limiting warming to a rise of 1.5 degrees compared with pre-industrial levels will require an unprecedented amount of effort, but a rise of 2 degrees would be far more harmful and ultimately more costly, too.

At the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, worldwide leaders agreed to keep global warming "well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels" with the hopes to limit this to just 1.5°C.

The IPCC, the UN's top climate panel, issued the report from Incheon, Republic of Korea, where for the past week, hundreds of scientists and government representatives have been pouring over thousands of inputs to paint a picture of what could happen to the planet and its inhabitants with global warming of 1.5°C (or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents the key findings of the Special Report, based on the assessment of the available scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to global warming of 1.5 °C.

The UN report warns the most serious impacts of climate change could arrive as early as 2030 if carbon emissions aren't significantly reduced.

Today at only 1.1 degrees of warming globally, crops and livestock across the region are being hit and hunger is rising, [i] with poor small-scale women farmers, living in rural areas suffering the most.

What is significant about 1.5C of warming?

"This important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC", said Hoesung Lee, chair of the IPCC.

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Lowering emissions to this degree, while technically possible, would require widespread changes in energy, industry, buildings, transportation and cities, according to the report.

In terms of credentials, it is unparalleled, with 91 authors and 133 contributing authors from dozens of countries and more than 42,000 expert comments.

The landmark report released Monday said time was running out to avert climate-induced disaster.

- The global temperature is now rising by 0.2C per decade.

If emissions can't be cut to a sufficient degree, researchers will need to devise effective methods of removing Carbon dioxide from the air, such as devoting land to growing trees and biofuel crops, Erik Solheim, executive director of the UN Environment Program, tells The Washington Post.

The report says the rate of warming caused by human activities is speeding up and that global emissions would need to fall by 45% by 2030 - twice as fast as previously envisaged.

"Within the next decade or so, we will need to radically change the way we build our houses, move from one place to another and grow our food", said 350.org in a statement.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison stressed that the report did not "provide recommendations to Australia" and his Government's focus would be ensuring that electricity prices were lower for households and small businesses.

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