Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

How are you fighting climate change?

How are you fighting climate change?

The IPCC report holds out hope that if the global climate warms more than the 1.5-degree, or even the 2-degree target, this "overshoot" could be reversed with carbon removal techniques.

The targets agreed in Paris on cutting emissions would not be enough even if there were larger and more ambitious cuts after 2030, it said. They want you to help them save it.

"We acknowledge this and we all know we need to do more", she said.

Where Has The Warning Come From?

With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5 °C compared to 2 °C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Monday.

Is It A Big Deal?

The idea of limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels seemed so unrealistic a few years ago that it was barely mentioned in communiqués from annual climate summits.

The report, which is based on more than 6,000 scientific references from 91 authors across 40 countries, including those from Australian researchers, outlines the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.

While warming of 2C above pre-industrial levels has widely been thought of as the threshold beyond which unsafe climate change will occur, vulnerable countries such as low-lying island states warn rises above 1.5C will threaten their survival.

How Can Cuts Be Achieved?

"If [the temperature] overshoot is to be minimised, the remaining equivalent Carbon dioxide budget available for emissions is very small, which implies that large, immediate, and unprecedented global efforts to mitigate greenhouse gases are required", the report said. The $2.4 trillion needed annually through 2035 is also an nearly sevenfold increase from the $333.5 billion Bloomberg NEF estimated was invested in renewable energy a year ago.

Emissions cuts in transport, buildings, industry, power generation and dietary habits such as eating meat will need to take place in a bid to speed up temperature limits.

The week-long meeting in Incheon, South Korea - already deep into overtime - deadlocked on Saturday when oil giant Saudi Arabia demanded the deletion of a passage noting the need for global Carbon dioxide emissions to decline "well before 2030".

The rise has already triggered consequences we are seeing through the seasons such as more extreme weather.

The report confirmed the grave risks that sea level rises pose to coastal communities around the world, including Australia's Pacific neighbours.

Reacting to the report, Neil Thorns, director of advocacy at Cafod, the worldwide development charity, said: "This report proves that keeping global temperatures to 1.5C is a necessity, not an ambition".

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

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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 a half degree Celsius from now, instead of the globally agreed-upon goal of one degree.

While coral reefs could decline 70% to 90% with 1.5C of warming, virtually all the world's reefs would be lost at 2C, while far more creatures and plants across the world face losing a large part of their range.

Small islands and coastal cities such as NY and Mumbai risk going underwater without the installation of sea barriers.

Professor Mark Howden said taking action now to reduce global warming was far less risky. They said it is up to governments to decide whether those unprecedented changes are acted upon.

"Limiting global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius as against 2 degree Celsius can reduce the number of people exposed to climate-related risks and poverty by up to several hundred million by 2050", the report said. We can't find any historical analogies for it.

Now, how different would the world look if we managed to limit man-made warming to half-a-degree, instead of 1 degree C?

"We need to extend this kind of progress on renewables to other areas".

Responding to the report, Prof Corinne Le Quere, from the University of East Anglia, said: "For the United Kingdom, this means a rapid switch to renewable energy and electric cars, insulating our homes, planting trees, where possible walking or cycling and eating well - more plants and less meat - and developing an industry to capture carbon and store it underground".

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