Stark warning says we have a decade to avoid catastrophic climate change

Stark warning says we have a decade to avoid catastrophic climate change

Countries have to make unprecedented transitions in all sectors to avoid devastating consequences of climate change and keep global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels this century, says a report by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an worldwide body set up in 1988.

With the current global warming of 1ºC, the world is facing extreme weather changes, rising sea level, melting Arctic sea ice and many more changes.

Increasingly, you don't have to convince Australian farmers of that.

For the first time, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report includes suggestions for how consumers can help tackle climate change - including changes in consumption and lifestyle choices.

The report further revealed that global warming has already had an effect in regions across the world.

"1.5 degrees is the new 2 degrees", Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International, told The Washington Post after attending the finalisation of the IPCC report in Incheon, the Republic of Korea.

The new report sets those levels much lower and measures devastating climate change effects much sooner.

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. The report focuses on what must be done if we want to avoid warming above 1.5℃, and the difference between 1.5℃ and 2℃ warming.

It will be one of the main items discussed at a global conference in Poland in December, when governments will review the Paris Agreement (which the U.S. withdrew from in June 2017).

Although the report says that emissions would not be the sole contributor to temperatures above 1.5°C, the future rates of emission reductions will determine whether temps rise.

Society would have to enact "unprecedented" changes to how it consumes energy, travels and builds to meet a lower global warming target or it risks increases in heat waves, flood-causing storms and the chances of drought in some regions as well as the loss of species, a United Nations report said on Monday.

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

IPCC's special report titled "Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees" finds that nations will require "rapid and far-reaching" transitions in all sectors, particularly energy, land use, industry, transport, buildings and other infrastructure to fight climate change. "We need to halve greenhouse gas emissions globally by 2030 and cut coal use by two-thirds by the same date".

This is analyzed in a recent study showing that the window to prevent runaway climate change and a "hot house" super-heated planet is closing much faster than previously understood.

Keeping the 1.5°C target would keep the global sea level rise 0.1m lower by 2100 than a 2°C target, the report said. Global warming has become a major challenge for human life. "The latter would be used as part of a now nonexistent program to get power from trees or plants and then bury the resulting carbon dioxide emissions in the ground, leading to a net subtraction of the gas from the air - bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, or BECCS".

There are several mitigation pathways illustrated to achieve these reductions and all of them incorporate different levels of Carbon dioxide removal.

But meeting the more ambitious goal of slightly less warming would require immediate, draconian cuts in emissions of heat-trapping gases and dramatic changes in the energy field.

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