Limit climate change ? do everything and do it now, scientists plead
Limit climate change ? do everything and do it now, scientists plead
The future of the world is on the line, and our chance to fix it is now
10 October, 2018, 14:43
Governments around the world must take "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" to avoid disastrous levels of global warming, says a stark new report from the global scientific authority on climate change.
In the conclusions, ministers also react to the special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels which was published yesterday.
"The only way to slow near-term feedbacks [which could drive climate change past tipping points] in the 15- to 20-year window before we lose control to runaway warming is to cut the SLCPs, which can provide considerably more avoided warming at mid-century than cuts to carbon dioxide can provide", said Durwood Zaelke, founder of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development and a reviewer of the IPCC report on the effects of 1.5 C warming.
A landmark United Nations report paints a dire picture of the catastrophic consequences the world will face if immediate action is not taken to limit the global warming to 1.5°C, warning that at 2°C, the world could see 10 cm more global sea level rise, loss of all coral-reefs and worsening food shortages. Per the IPCC, humans need to slash carbon output to 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 and to straight-up zero by 2050.
Henri Waisman, a senior researcher at Paris-based think tank IDDRI and one of 91 report authors, said the report's aim was to set out the types of transformation required as clearly as possible to inform discussions at United Nations climate talks and beyond.
Dale Marshall, national program manager at Environmental Defence, said the ongoing political fight over carbon pricing and criticism of Liberal energy policies is scaring the government into being more timid about its climate plan, while the report shows being timid is not going to cut it.
"I think we need to get on with the job that we have been given dollars to do and that's significant", he said.
"Did you know that 30 per cent of all food consumed by the [Australian] household goes to food waste?" she said.
If global emissions continue at the current rate, the 91 authors of the report predict the world will reach 1.5 degrees by as early as 2040.
The IPCC report will be a talking point at the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December.
The rise has already triggered consequences we are seeing through the seasons such as more extreme weather.
Swiftly reducing emissions - even with carbon removal - will also require unprecedented levels of global cooperation, a particular challenge as some national governments, like that in the United States, look increasingly inward.
Johnny Chan Chung-leung, director of City University's Guy Carpenter Asia-Pacific Climate Impact Centre, said laws - rather than targets - that mandated a certain ratio of renewables in the power mix by a certain date were also necessary.
What Will We See Once Global Warming Is Limited To 1.5C?
Developing nations and least developed countries have been asking developed nations, particularly the USA, to take historical and moral responsibility for being one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters.
The IPCC met last week in Incheon, South Korea, to finalize the report, prepared at the request of governments in 2015 to assess the feasibility and importance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. "The small islands will be the first, but nobody can escape; it is quite clear". "There's certainly things that we'll need to invest in more to develop the next generation of solutions".
Although carbon emissions come from more than transportation, the transportation sector is far behind electricity production in making the switch to low-carbon energy sources. But a lower temperature increase would allow humanity more precious time with which to adapt to the adverse conditions presented by climate change.
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