Unprecedented action needed to curb global warming

Pablo Tucker
October 12, 2018

"The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate", said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, another co-chair of the IPCC's Working Group I. He said the long-awaited findings show that "climate change is running faster than we are - and we are running out of time".

The report was meant to ring alarm bells about global warming, noting that temperatures are likely to be 1.5 degrees higher by 2030 to 2052 based on current commitments to reduce emissions made under the Paris deal.

"Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5ºC or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems", the report said.

This report gives us hope - it is clear that it is possible to keep global warming to 1.5 C and that we now have the specific information we need to be able to make this happen.

The IPCC warning comes as the political battle around Canada's climate change policies heats up. "The next few years are probably the most important in our history", she said.

"The coming period is critical".


Before the Paris Agreement was inked in 2015, almost a decade of scientific research rested on the assumption that 2C was the guardrail for a climate-safe world.

Impacts of climate change, from droughts to rising seas, will be less extreme if temperature rises are curbed at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels than if they climb to 2C, the UN-backed study said.

Unless action is taken, more extreme weather events are expected including winter storms and drought, with hundreds of millions of people put at risk of poverty and some small island states facing the prospect of being wiped out as sea levels rise. Moreover, it said that climate change has significantly contributed to heat-related deaths.

"The world needs a "Plan B" to address climate change".

To limit warming to 1.5 degrees would require a roughly fivefold increase in average annual investment in low-carbon energy technologies by 2050, compared with 2015.

Canada would have to cut its emissions nearly in half over the next 12 years to meet the stiffer targets dozens of worldwide climate change experts say is required to prevent catastrophic results from global warming.


The dramatic report warned that the planet is now heading to warm by 3C - and to slash that to less than 1.5C as laid out in the Paris agreement will require "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society". "The UK's net carbon emissions should be reduced by 60 per cent by 2030 - and to zero by 2050 or at least 80 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050".

Aiming to limit global warming at 1.5℃ is a mammoth task at hand, it requires a massive social transformation in the way we consume energy.

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

"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 IPCC Working Group III.

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.

The IPCC report was timed to feed into the December UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland, where world leaders will be under pressure to ramp up national carbon-cutting pledges which - even if fulfilled - would yield a 3C world.


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