Climate change report urges immediate action

Climate change report urges immediate action

This is one of the key findings of a landmark new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN's body to assesses research on climate change.

The 2015 Paris Agreement sets a goal to cap the increase in the global average temperature to below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The 1.5 was at the urging of vulnerable countries that called two degrees a death sentence.

More frequent or intense droughts, such as the one that almost ran the taps dry in Cape Town, South Africa, as well as more frequent extreme rainfall events such as hurricanes Harvey and Florence in the United States, are also pointed to as expectations as we reach the warming threshold. One of the reasons for this variation is that the future deployment of nuclear can be constrained by societal preferences assumed in narratives underlying the pathways. Even if the world manages to shave off that extra 0.5 degrees, we'll still be well on our way to flooded coastlines, intensified droughts and debilitated industries. "In the 1960s and 1970s, France implemented a programme to rapidly get 80% of its power from nuclear in about 25 years, but the current time-lag between the decision date and the commissioning of plants is observed to be 10-19 years", it says.

If we eliminated all our emissions today, we would still see a bit more warming (as sunlight-reflecting aerosol pollution quickly washed out of the atmosphere, for example) but probably not enough to send us coasting helplessly across the 1.5°C limit.

"You don't want to live in a 2°C world", Hunter Cutting, Director of Strategic Communications at Climate Nexus who observed the IPCC plenary, told IFLScience.

The US, along with 180 other countries, accepted the report's summary line by line. For instance, the United Kingdom works with public guarantees covering part of the upfront investment costs of newly planned nuclear capacity.

"If we're to achieve those sorts of cuts in emissions, then we need deep changes in all aspects of society - that's energy, land, building, transport, food, diet, cities, etc".

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"This is concerning because we know there are so many more problems if we exceed 1.5 degrees C global warming, including more heat waves and hot summers, greater sea level rise, and, for many parts of the world, worse droughts and rainfall extremes", Andrew King, a climate science academic at the University of Melbourne, said in a statement to CNN.

The world has only a few years left to deal with climate change - or face blistering heat waves, rising seas and a 'shocking rise in hunger, ' a United Nations report has warned. Coral reefs would nearly entirely disappear with 2 degrees of warming, with just 10-30% of existing reefs surviving at 1.5 °C. "Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all ( 99 percent) would be lost with 2°C". But Monday's report comes amid a reactionary political climate.

The path to a climate-safe world has become a tightrope, and will require an unprecedented marshalling of human ingenuity, the authors said.

It said, "Climate-related risks for natural and human systems are higher for global warming of 1.5 degree C than at present, but lower than 2 degree C. These risks depend on the magnitude and rate of warming, geographic location, level of development and vulnerability, and on the choices and implementation of adaptation and mitigation options".

RealClimateScience.com's Tony Heller ticked off past failed predictions of global-warming disaster, such as a 1989 U.N. warning that "entire nations could be wiped from the face of the earth" by rising seas unless global warming was reversed by 2000.

Compared to the already tall task of meeting the 2.0°C goal, this effort would require even more efficiency gains to bring down total energy demand. Generation III reactors have already come into operation in several countries, it added.

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