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New United Nations report details looming climate crisis

09 Octobre 2018

While government representatives are frankly buried by more high-quality scientific information than they really need to make sound decisions about the urgency of slowing climate change, they ordered up a 1.5°C addendum.

Here's everything you need to know.

He said the report "has sent the strongest message yet from the scientific community that the era of fossil fuels has to end soon if we are to protect the world from risky climate change and limit warming to 1.5°C".

Is It A Big Deal?

The UN's 195-nation climate science body plunged deep into overtime to finalise a report outlining stark options - all requiring a global makeover of unprecedented scale - for avoiding climate chaos.

The report is seen as the main scientific guide for government policymakers on how to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to limit the rise in global average temperatures to "well below" 2C above pre-industrial levels, while seeking to tighten the goal to 1.5C.

Avoiding the most serious damage requires transforming the world economy within just a few years, said the authors, who estimate that the damage would come at a cost of $54 trillion.

Jim Skea, a sustainable energy expert at Imperial College London, says achieving the needed emissions cuts will not be a matter of picking and choosing among options.

"Even though historically scalability and speed of scaling of nuclear plants have been high in many nations, such rates are now not achieved anymore".

Climate scientists said renewable energy sources will have to account for 70% to 85% of electricity production by 2050.

Currently, a few experimental methods exist that can snatch carbon dioxide directly out of the air, but at up to $1,000 per ton of carbon dioxide, the price tag of such carbon capture is staggering-and billions of tons await extraction.

The most ambitious would see a radical drawdown in energy consumption coupled with a rapid shift away from fossil fuels and a swift decline in Carbon dioxide emissions starting in 2020.

The impact of global warming is greater than what was anticipated earlier.

He admitted the report showed that "limiting warming to 1.5°C is barely feasible and every year we delay the window of feasibility halves".

Climate change will make some types of extreme weather more common.

Sea levels are rising.

That 1.5 degrees C target is also an entirely fabricated artefact.

It is thought that by 2100, global sea rise levels would be 10cm lower that if global warming were to be at 2C. In fact, this goal felt so infeasible that a second was proposed in tandem: aiming to stall at a 2-degree-Celsius (3.6-degree-Fahrenheit) rise, which scientists then considered the threshold for the most severe effects of climate change, reports Coral Davenport for The New York Times.

Small islands and coastal cities such as NY and Mumbai risk going underwater without the installation of sea barriers. It would also cut down on species loss and extinction and reduce the impact on various ecosystems.

What Has Been The Reaction So Far?

Adam Bandt, the Greens climate spokesman, said the IPCC report showed it was "time to hit the climate emergency button", and that neither major party was prepared to take the necessary steps.

The report reads, "Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0 degree Celsius of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8 degree celsius to 1.2 degree celsius". We can't find any historical analogies for it.

Coral reefs would decline by 70% to 90% instead of being nearly completely wiped out.

"We have very limited options for more hydro power in the United Kingdom, batteries do not yet provide the type of storage needed and other options like liquid air and hydrogen storage are still early in their development stages".

Taking excess carbon from the atmosphere requires measures such as planting new forests or, more controversially, burning plant material for energy and capturing the carbon to store underground, which is known as "BECCS".

"It also means adapting to the growing impacts of climate change that are felt here, particularly to the increasing flood risks from heavy rainfall and from sea level rise along our coasts".

New United Nations report details looming climate crisis