New Global Report Warns Of Climate Change Consequences

Greg Lawrence
October 12, 2018

A new report says society would have to carry out "unprecedented" changes to the way it operates to keep global temperatures from rising or it risks increases in heat waves, storms and drought.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned on Monday in a new report that current levels of greenhouse gas emissions will increase the Earth's temperature by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius since 2030.

Working Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II addresses impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III deals with the mitigation of climate change.

The IPCC report says a 2C rise will lead to more heatwaves and extreme rainstorms, more people facing water shortages and drought, greater economic losses and lower yields for major crops than 1.5C.

The planet is already two-thirds of the way there, with global temperatures having warmed about 1 degree Celsius.

It is based on more than 6,000 scientific references and contributions from thousands of experts and government reviewers around the world. Because I can give you reports that are fabulous and I can give you reports that aren't so good.

Controlling the global warming to 1.5ºC rather letting it reach 2ºC would save the world from facing a lot of hazardous impacts on the ecosystem, human health and well being and it will make it easy to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Governments are set to meet at the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December to discuss the report and steps that can be taken to address climate change.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius was approved by the IPCC - the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change - on Saturday in this Korean city.

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Carbon emissions need to reach "net zero" by 2050 and almost halve from 2010 levels by 2030. Carbon dioxide is a tiny percentage of the air; Herzog likens the technique to removing 400 "CO2 marbles" from a pile of one million marbles.

They're calling for "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes" across society to prevent world temperatures from rising by two degrees Celsius.

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It will also require a vast ramp-up in renewables so they generate 70-85 per cent of electricity supplies by 2050, while use of coal needs to fall from around 38 per cent to "close to 0 per cent" by 2050.

The Arctic Ocean would be one of the most dramatically affected, with the region likely to experience ice-free summers every decade, compared with every century if we limit to 1.5.

Currently, the world has seen 1C of warming over the past 115 years, according to a USA report last year.

As the report concludes: "There is no simple answer to the questions of whether it is feasible to limit warming to 1.5 C and to adapt to the consequences".

Action will also be needed to cut carbon emissions to zero by 2050. In fact, the IPCC report says that we are ultimately heading towards 3 degrees Celsius. "What we're playing for now is to see if we can limit climate change to the point where we don't wipe out civilizations, where we retain something like the planet that we once knew".

But Monday's report comes amid a reactionary political climate.

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