United Nations climate change panel calls for rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes

Catherine McKenna

In its landmark report, the United Nations has warned that time is running out to avert disaster, adding that avoiding global climate chaos will require a major transformation of society and the world economy that is "unprecedented in scale".

- Global warming should be limited to 1.5C rather than 2C to ensure the impacts of climate change, from droughts to rising seas, are less extreme. It makes clear that governments have a narrow and shrinking window for action in which to avert further catastrophic temperature rises.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday said that Australia would not abandon its Paris agreement commitment to reduce emissions by 26 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 but said that his government would not be "held to" the IPCC report. These countries are "projected to experience the largest impacts on economic growth due to climate change should the warming increase", the report added.

Capping global warming at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels will require "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society", the IPCC said. A huge percentage of reefs, from 70-90%, could still be lost with 1.5 degrees of warming.

"The New York Times: Why Half a Degree of Global Warming Is a Big Deal - "'If you're looking at this one region, which is already water-scarce today and sees a lot of political instability, half a degree makes a really big difference, ' said Carl-Friedrich Schleussner, the head of climate science and impacts at Climate Analytics and the lead author of that study. Heat stress is likely to become increasingly frequent and more intense with increased warming.

"The IPCC report is a sobering reminder that we're still not on track to achieve the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement", said Will McGoldrick of the Nature Conservancy.

"Supporting and implementing comprehensive and urgent climate action that is required to be taken by all stakeholders to limit temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius is the need of the hour", he said.

Warming of 2C above pre-industrial levels had widely been thought of as the threshold beyond which risky climate change will occur, but vulnerable countries such as low-lying island states warn rises above 1.5C will threaten their survival. Carbon dioxide is a tiny percentage of the air; Herzog likens the technique to removing 400 "CO2 marbles" from a pile of one million marbles.

"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.

Otherwise, the world will face rising seas, deadly heat waves, floods and shrinking ice caps - and it may not be possible to get climate change under control. "The next few years are probably the most important in our history, ' she said", as cited in the IPCC press release in question. It encompasses 195 member states and is tasked with assessing science related to climate change and providing guidelines for policy makers.

Below is some background about the IPCC and the report.

Green Car Reports respectfully reminds its readers that the scientific validity of climate change is not a topic for debate in our comments.

The report lists how Earth's weather, health and ecosystems would be better off if world leaders could figure out how to limit future human-caused warming to 0.5 degree Celsius (0.9 degree Fahrenheit) between 2030 and 2052, instead of the globally agreed upon goal of 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit).

"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.

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