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12 October 2018, 07:02 | Justin Tyler
Landmark UN global warming report carries life-or-death warning
This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing Carbon dioxide from the air. By midcentury, we have to reach net zero emissions.
German biologist Hans-Otto Portner, one of the panel members, said some of the panelists were engaged in "wishful thinking" if they thought the gloomy report would encourage governments and people to act quickly and forcefully to counteract the report's predictions.
The IPCC warning comes as the political battle around Canada's climate change policies heats up. We ourselves are also making sure we take action at the national and Pacific regional level with actions to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
"The reality is that we're very off track from where we need to be", says Rachel Cleetus, policy director for the Climate and Energy Program at the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists, who was not involved with the new report.
The chair of the LDC group, Gebru Jember Endalew, from Ethiopia, said: "Communities across the world are already experiencing the devastating impacts of 1°C global warming". A coalition of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) said that the report showed that previous commitments to limit warming to 2ºC would not be enough to protect millions of their citizens. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2 °C. Halting global warming would mean half as many people on Earth would suffer from lack of water and that there would be fewer deaths and illnesses from heat, smog and infectious diseases, according to the report. Limiting global warming to 2 degrees no longer cuts it.
The report suggests that coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all ( 99 percent) would be lost with 2ºC.
"Large quantities of current gas plants will need to be retired early, while those under construction or in planning stages must be reconsidered immediately as they are not compatible with the 1.5-degree future", Chen said. Many of us may even be feeling its effects right now with air pollution and increasing annual rainfall, but the long-term consequences are even more unsettling. Why shoot for 1.5 degrees?
The World Coal Association noted the IEA and other forecasters expect the fuel to remain an important part of the energy system for the foreseeable future. Trillions of dollars will soon be invested in new infrastructure; if we make the wrong choices, they'll be locked in, according to the same recent report.
Limiting warming to 1.5C is possible but will require fast and far-reaching changes to power generation, industry, transport, buildings and potential shifts in lifestyle such as eating less meat.
The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C was approved by the IPCC on Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea.
"In this sense, a successful outcome in Katowice will be a first and most crucial step towards achieving the Paris Agreement's goals of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees and pursuing efforts towards 1.5 degree celsius", said the UNFCCC in a statement. "Each year that the global economy fails to decarbonize at the required rate, the two-degree goal becomes more hard to achieve". Next year the IPCC will release the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and Climate Change and Land, which looks at how climate change affects land use. While global warming might not be explicitly visible today, it has been constantly shaping the world that we live in.
"That is where I think the politicians need to really start taking notice in Australia".
But most governments now fear the cost of a global overhaul of the world's energy economy in the short time needed to meet the Paris climate goals.
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