IPCC 1.5℃ report: here's what the climate science says

In a statement to accompany the report, the IPCC said limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to 2 degrees "would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society".

The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change, revealed that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius "would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society", according to a statement announcing the climate change report.

Temperatures during summer heatwaves, such as those just experienced across Europe this summer, can be expected to increase by 3 degrees C says the report.

It was written by 91 authors from 40 countries and approved by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Saturday.

"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 goal 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.

As the IPCC's reports are largely based on a critical assessment and synthesis of published scientific papers, many of its latest conclusions are unsurprising.

Even in the best-case scenario, where global warming is capped at 1.5 °C by the end of the century, its effects will most likely be devastating. Coral reefs, which risk decline by more than 99% at 2C, would reduce by 70 to 90%. "And now more than ever we know that every bit of warming matters". "It is crucial to keep temperature rise well below 1.5 degrees without offsetting, carbon markets, and geoengineering, but the evidence presented by the IPCC shows that there is a narrow and shrinking window in which to do so". The Paris agreement committed to limit warming to well below 2 degrees, and pursue the even harder goal to limit it to 1.5 degrees.

The report identifies various routes by which emissions cuts would limit warming to 1.5℃; each makes assumptions about future changes in, for example, economic strategy, population growth and the rate at which low carbon energy is adopted.

To prevent 2.7 degrees of warming, the report said, greenhouse pollution must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050. And carbon dioxide emissions must reach net zero around 2075 - meaning the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere equals the amount being removed.

"International cooperation is absolutely imperative to limit emissions and therefore global warming and its impacts, as well as coordinating effective and widespread adaptation and mitigation", said Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, a fellow at the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales.

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But the report warns that "the effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development".

The lower target would also reduce species loss and extinction and the impact on terrestrial, freshwater and coastal ecosystems, the report said. According to the IPCC, "the next few years are probably the most important in our history".

President Donald Trump, who has mocked the science of human-caused climate change, has vowed to increase the burning of coal and said he intends to withdraw from the Paris agreement.

"Climate change is already affecting people, eco systems and livelihoods all around the world", he says.

But those past predictions appear to have been far too conservative (a common critique of IPCC reports in general).

IPCC is the United Nations body for assessing science related to climate change.

If the temperature rise can be kept under 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, then those impacts - from extreme weather to rising seas - will be less severe.

As part of the decision to adopt the Paris Agreement, the IPCC was invited to produce, in 2018, a Special Report on global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways.

Around 6 percent of insects, 8 percent of plants, and 4 percent of vertebrates are projected to be negatively affected by global warming of 1.5°C, namely by shrinking their natural geographic range, compared with 18 percent of insects, 16 percent of plants and 8 percent of vertebrates for global warming of 2°C.

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