Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Dire warnings and urgent calls in climate change report

AFP  Getty Images- Getty Images Dire warnings and urgent calls in climate change report
Melinda Barton | 10 October, 2018, 07:28

To contain warming at 1.5°C, human-made global net carbon dioxide emissions would need to fall by about 45 percent by 2030 from 2010 levels and reach "net zero" by mid-century, the report said.

In the 728-page document, the United Nations organization detailed how Earth's weather, health and ecosystems would be in better shape if the world's leaders could somehow limit future human-caused warming to just 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (a half degree Celsius) from now, instead of the globally agreed-upon goal of 1.8 degrees F (1 degree C). At the current rate of warming, the world as a whole will reach the 1.5° mark between 2030 and 2052, the report concludes.

Action in cities - which consume more than two-thirds of energy globally and account for about three-quarters of carbon emissions - are pivotal to meeting the target, said report author William Solecki, a professor at Hunter College-City University of NY.

The IPCC study, which took almost three years to complete and involved 91 authors from 40 countries, is the first to look in detail at the 1.5 deg C limit, which is one of the goals in the 2015 UN Paris Climate Agreement.

"This is one of the most important reports ever produced by the IPCC, and certainly one of the most needed", Hoesung Lee, the chair of the body, said at a press conference in South Korea on Monday.

Global temperature is now rising 0.2C with each decade, and it is estimated we will reach 1.5C by 2040.

The report's release is expected to energize the annual United Nations.

The Kigali Amendment, by avoiding the equivalent of up to 90 billion tonnes of Carbon dioxide by 2050, could be "perhaps the single most significant contribution to keeping warming well below 2C, aiming for the still safer 1.5 C", Zaelke told the Guardian. But if warming stops at 2 degrees, more than 99% of reefs could disappear. Limiting the warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius can, for example, cut many impacts in half, including those of fresh water shortage and losses of many species and of ocean fish catch.

Other costs will be from the effect of rising sea levels devastating coastlines, heatwaves and droughts devastating crops and the spread of tropical diseases such as malaria as the Earth warms.

Coral reefs would decline by 70 per cent to 90 per cent at 1.5 deg C, whereas virtually all would be lost at 2 deg C.

I have been heartened over the past year by the determination of countless Americans to reaffirm their commitment to the Paris Agreement and to keep taking climate change seriously, from state governors and city mayors to business leaders, labour unions, faith groups and ordinary citizens.

If the world sees 2 degrees C of warming, ice sheet collapse in Antarctica becomes far more likely.

From the beginning of next year, a new global pact will take effect that could have a profound impact on climate change, cutting harmful greenhouse gas emissions by amounts that could help stave off some of the worst impacts predicted by the IPCC. "But doing so would require unprecedented changes".

"I will be looking at it, absolutely", Trump said. "The next few years will be critical in the evolution of these efforts".

One contributing factor to higher temps includes carbon emissions.

While the report stressed that these methods "are at different stages of development and some are more conceptual than others, as they have not been tested at scale", the two main points of focus were increasing natural processes that already remove carbon from the atmosphere, and experimenting with carbon storage and removal technologies. We also ask that political discussions be restricted to the topic of the article they follow. Despite the report's dire warnings, there is no indication such cooperation will be doable, particularly given the Trump administration's stance on this issue. The headline is that scientists say we have only ten years left to save the planet!