Climate Report Warns Of Extreme Weather, Displacement Of Millions Without Action

Gwen Vasquez
October 12, 2018

At current levels of greenhouse gas emissions, we could pass the 1.5C marker as early as 2030, and no later than mid-century, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) reported with "high confidence".

"We are at one-minute-to-midnight on the clock showing the time left to act on climate change", Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said.

A report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change examines the potential of limiting global warming to 1.5º Celsius, a half-degree less than the oft-cited 2º C target called for in the Paris Climate agreement.

And if the planet warms two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, India and Pakistan will be among the most affected countries.

This report shows the longer we wait, "the more hard, the more expensive and the more risky it will be", said Bill Hare, a physicist with the nonprofit group Climate Analytics.

It will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

Beyond the scientific imperative provided by this report, governments and investors will also need the energy scenarios to help them get to 1.5 degrees, including ones that can serve as roadmaps to success from energy authorities like the International Energy Agency (in its reaction to the special report, the World Coal Association pointed to the IEA as justification for the need for continued coal production). This would require a massive swing to renewable energy, with any residual emissions being scrubbed from the atmosphere using carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), and carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies.

"The coming period is critical".

"Limiting global temperature increases to 1.5°C means significantly decreased levels of food insecurity, water shortages, destruction of infrastructure, and displacement from sea-level rise and other impacts".

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- 20-40% of the global population have experienced more than 1.5C of warming in at least one season.

Countries are already seeing an increase in extreme weather and rising sea levels as a result of the increase in average global temperatures of 1 degree above pre-industrial levels that has already occurred, the IPCC study said.

If temperatures go up by 2C, then nearly all coral reefs in the world would start dying off, according to the report.

"Albopictus (principal vectors) or of the prevalence of dengue fever generally conclude there will be an increase in the number of mosquitoes and a larger geographic range at 2°C than at 1.5°C and beyond than at present, and suggest more individuals at risk of dengue fever, with regional differences", the report stated. Lowering emissions to this degree, while technically possible, would require widespread changes in energy, industry, buildings, transportation and cities, according to the report.

"Unless governments urgently take much more concrete action to reduce emissions, we will soon be in a scenario where it is simply too late".

"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", said Priyardarshi Shukla, co-chair of another IPCC working group.

The new report will feed into a process called the 'Talanoa Dialogue, ' in which parties to the Paris accord will take stock of what has been accomplished over the past three years. When the next climate talks happen this December, the new report is created to give governments the incentive to go much further, faster.

President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris climate agreement in June 2017.

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