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Limiting warming to 1.5°C possible, will save 420m people

10 Octobre 2018

If we fail to meet this objective and global temperatures rise by even a mere half a degree Celsius more to 2°C (3.6°F), the effects on our planet are expected to be devastating. At the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, worldwide leaders agreed to keep global warming "well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels" with the hopes to limit this to just 1.5°C.

A summary of the Special Report on Global Warming is available here.

At current levels of greenhouse gas emissions, earth could pass the 1.5 C marker as early as 2030, and no later than mid-century, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change reports with "high confidence".

The new report says we'll see those effects in just over 20 years unless major changes are implemented.

One of the lead authors, Murdoch University climate scientist Jatin Kala, said even if global warming was kept to 1.5C there could still be "dire consequences" for WA's South West, such as altered growing seasons in the Wheatbelt and wine regions such as the Swan Valley.

If emissions can't be cut to a sufficient degree, researchers will need to devise effective methods of removing Carbon dioxide from the air, such as devoting land to growing trees and biofuel crops, Erik Solheim, executive director of the UN Environment Program, tells The Washington Post.

Personal changes might include everything from eating less meat to using energy-efficient appliances and reducing air travel, said Patricia Pinho, a Brazilian climate scientist and report author. Experts say meeting that target is critical not only for the environment, but also to safeguard poor and vulnerable communities on the frontline of the climate threat.

But no matter how many warnings we receive - and let's be honest, at this point we have had far too many - no one is willing to put their foot down and pump the brakes. "It's really disappointing. It's a real failure that the U.S. government isn't helping people understand there's a train coming down the track fast at us and we need to get out of the way". The decision to eat less meat, particularly beef, and dairy products has been identified by researchers as making a bigger impact on lowering greenhouse gas emissions than reducing flights or buying an electric vehicle.

The IPCC does not do any of its own research, so the report draws on more than 6,000 research papers to reach its conclusions.

"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 Portner, a German scientist who co-chaired one of the panel's working groups.

Average global temperatures are now 1C above pre-industrial levels, and are likely to increase 1.5C between 2030 and 2052 under current trajectories, the report says. This will require acting on all fronts to rapidly reduce emissions by 2030.

It warns the world is well off track to keep to the 1.5C limit.

Renewables would have to supply 70% to 85% of electricity in 2050, there would be a small role for gas power with technology that captured and stored its carbon, while coal would be virtually non-existent.

Limiting global warming to 1.5 °C would require rapid, far- reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment.

But the report said some measures, such as planting forests, bioenergy use or capturing and storing CO2, remained unproven on a large scale and carried some risks.

A morbid United Nations' report on climate change has given policymakers an inside look into what could be a catastrophic climate crisis by as soon as 2040. But Monday's report comes amid a reactionary political climate.

The data in the UN's new document is unlikely to sway Trump, who has vowed to pull the USA out of the Paris Agreement and has taken steps to dismantle every major policy created to reduce the nation's carbon footprint.

Limiting warming to 1.5°C possible, will save 420m people