December 11, 2018

Rapid, unprecedented change needed to halt global warming - U.N

09 October 2018, 07:56 | Edward Lowe

He said the government would not change policy "just because somebody might suggest that some sort of report is the way we need to follow and everything that we should do".

The headlines about cutting emissions by 45% by 2030 and getting nearly all of our electricity from renewables by the middle of the century, are all very well but a key point of this report is that successfully limiting climate change to 1.5C is not just down to cutting emissions or making lifestyle changes or planting trees - it is all of that and then some, acting in concert at the same time.

Countries in the southern hemisphere will be among the worse off, the report said, "projected to experience the largest impacts on economic growth due to climate change should global warming increase". "Even the scientists were surprised to see how much science was already there and how much they could really differentiate and how great are the benefits of limiting global warming at 1.5 compared to 2", Thelma Krug, vice-chair of the IPCC, told Reuters.

Where Has The Warning Come From?

The Nobel Prize-winning organisation said that the world was well off track in its goal of limiting global temperature rise to below 1.5ºC and heading for 2ºC or more.

Is It A Big Deal?

The changes required, from energy to agriculture, are "unprecedented in terms of scale", the group writes in a summary for policymakers.

Today, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report on the forthcoming impacts of 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.

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The report was prepared at the request of governments when the global pact to tackle climate change was agreed in Paris almost three years ago.

But that is a big ask, considering we released more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere previous year than ever before.

How Can Cuts Be Achieved?

To contain warming at 1.5C, man-made global net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions would need to fall by about 45 percent by 2030 from 2010 levels and reach "net zero" by mid-century.

This means no more Carbon dioxide should be put out than is being removed by current measures, such as planting trees.

The middle range of the IPCC's scenarios, where there is little to no overshoot, require that renewables make up 70 to 85 percent of electricity by 2050.

They will also require considerable political engagement globally, as will reducing the amount of carbon being emitted.

Emissions cuts in transport, buildings, industry, power generation and dietary habits such as eating meat will need to take place in a bid to speed up temperature limits.

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At a doorstop on the Gold Coast on Monday, Morrison said the IPCC report "does not provide recommendations to Australia or Australia's program, this is dealing with the global program". Between 10 and 30 per cent of coral reef could be saved from obliteration, according to the IPCC report.

"There are signs that we can do a lot more", he said. But the heads of small island nations, fearful of rising sea levels, had also asked scientists to examine the effects of 2.7 degrees of warming.

Why do we need to limit global warming to 1.5C?


While warming of 2C above pre-industrial levels has widely been thought of as the threshold beyond which risky climate change will occur, vulnerable countries such as low-lying island states warn rises above 1.5C will threaten their survival. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90% with global warming of 1.5 degrees, whereas more than 99% would be lost with 2 degrees.

Small islands and coastal cities such as NY and Mumbai risk going underwater without the installation of sea barriers.

Johnny Chan Chung-leung, director of City University's Guy Carpenter Asia-Pacific Climate Impact Centre, said laws - rather than targets - that mandated a certain ratio of renewables in the power mix by a certain date were also necessary. Still, action so far has been haltingly slow.

'The faster governments phase out coal, embrace the renewable energy revolution and move to protect communities at risk, the more lives and livelihoods will be spared'. We can't find any historical analogies for it.

Staying under 1.5C could mean 420 million fewer people being frequently exposed to extreme heatwaves, and about 65 million fewer people being exposed to exceptional heatwaves.

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