Alarming portents from global warming report

Dried cracked mud is seen at the Valdeinfierno reservoir

Dried cracked mud is seen at the Valdeinfierno reservoir

This is why the latest report from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes for such alarming reading and demands immediate, concerted action from everyone - particularly our leaders.

Action in cities - which consume more than two-thirds of energy globally and account for about three-quarters of carbon emissions - are pivotal to meeting the target, said report author William Solecki, a professor at Hunter College-City University of NY.

"We are already seeing the consequences of 1 degree Celsius of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes", said Panmao Zhai, one of the report's authors.

And if we hold warming to 1.5 degrees instead of 2 degrees, the report suggests global sea level rise will be a whole 10 centimetres lower - potentially stopping what the report describes as a "disproportionately rapid evacuation" of people from the tropics.

"Global warming is likely to reach 1.5 degrees C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate", the report states.

In 2010, global negotiators adopted a goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) since pre-industrial times. Warmer water is repeatedly causing mass global bleaching events to Earth's fragile coral reefs.

"Limiting warming to 1.5ºC is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics", said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

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"And now more than ever we know that every bit of warming matters", Krug added.

"The government will take into account. the recommendations of the [council] and. the IPCC's special report to draw up Hong Kong's long-term decarbonisation strategy up to 2050 by the end of 2019 or early 2020", the spokesman said. "We need to halve greenhouse gas emissions globally by 2030 and cut coal use by two-thirds by the same date".

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. While it includes a discussion of the carbon budget, it maintains that the 1.5 C target requires a shift to net-zero emissions by 2050, no matter what. Problematically, the effectiveness of the negative emissions techniques that would be relied upon in such a scenario is unproven on a large scale. "Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations sustainable development goals".

"The next few years are probably the most important in our history", warned Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II. But even with its description of the increasing impacts that lie ahead, the IPCC understates a key risk: "that self-reinforcing feedback loops could push the climate system into chaos before we have time to tame our energy system, and the other sources of climate pollution".

The IPCC report is undeniably grim, but its authors state that the 1.5°C target can still be met if unprecedented, wide-ranging action is taken straight away. We ask that any comments by climate-change denialists be flagged for moderation.

The report is seen as the main scientific guide for government policymakers on how to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement, which is to be discussed at the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December. A recent report by NDEVR Environmental predicts that Australia will miss its Paris emissions reductions targets by around one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

When the next climate talks happen this December, the new report is created to give governments the incentive to go much further, faster. "Climate change is already affecting people, livelihood and ecosystems all around the world".

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