India highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, say experts on United Nations report

Cheryl Sanders
October 9, 2018

The Special Report makes it abundantly clear that if the world continues with its current climate efforts, the 1.5°C limit could be breached between 2030 and 2052.

During that historic conference in Paris three years ago, 197 nations (over 170 states and the European Union) had adopted new targets to help curb global warming, but in a controversial move, Donald Trump pulled the US out in June 2017, saying it was "unfair" to this country.

But evidence in the new report, in which a team of 91 scientists from 40 countries analyzed over 6,000 scientific studies, shows that the future is bleaker than once thought.

Most worryingly, the IPCC's report claims that this 1.5°C increase could be reached in as little as 11 years, and nearly certainly within 20 years. But U.S. states led by California and many cities are living up to their commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions, WMO's Taalas said.

"It's a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now", Debra Roberts, cochair of a working group on the impacts of climate change, tells The Guardian.

"We're particularly concerned about the implications for coral reefs, with the report finding climate change will impact reefs across the world, including Australia", Ms Price said.

The report estimates that sea-level rise in the year 2100 would be around 10 centimeters lower in a 1.5°C world than a 2.0°C world. The Arctic, for example, is likely to be several degrees warmer, increasing ice melt and sea level rise.


"Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5 C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems", said Hans-Otto Pörtner, co-chair of one of the IPCC groups, in a news release.

What is of particular concern is that the report lowers the level after which disastrous climate change is anticipated: Previous research had set the critical threshold at 2ºC of warming.

"There is no definitive way to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 above pre-industrial levels", the United Nations -requested report said.

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.

Overall, the authors say that current greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030. And carbon dioxide emissions must reach net zero around 2075 - meaning the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere equals the amount being removed.

Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed or "overshoot" 1.5 °C would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove Carbon dioxide from the air to return global temperature to below 1.5 °C by 2100.

But the report adds: "The effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development".


Still, Cleetus says that we have most of the technology we need to make the change.

Getting more than half of the world's electricity from renewable sources, like solar and wind power, in just over 10 years. It encompasses 195 member states and is tasked with assessing science related to climate change and providing guidelines for policy makers. "What we've done is said what the world needs to do", Imperial College London's Jim Skea, cochair of the IPCC panel, said at a press conference.

Looking at the past decade alone, a number of record-breaking storms, forest fires, heatwaves and floods have already been triggered all around the world as a result of this first 1°C increase in global temperature. When the next climate talks happen this December, the new report is created to give governments the incentive to go much further, faster.

This report shows the longer we leave it to act, the more hard, the more expensive and the more risky it will be.

A second pathway emphasises the need for changing our consumption patterns - eating less meat, travelling less, giving up cars, etc. - along with an overhaul of agricultural and land-use practices, including the protection of forests.

While such actions are scientifically feasible, even IPCC experts conceded that the political will needed to force through such changes would be colossal.


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