Global Warming Effects could be Catastrophic in 12 Years


He's with us now from South Korea where this report was released. Its newly-developed web app calculates the average rise in your city and regional temperature since 1871. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women's rights, trafficking and property rights.

"The report shows that we only have the slimmest of opportunities remaining to avoid unthinkable damage to the climate system that supports life as we know it", said Amjad Abdulla, the IPCC board member and chief negotiator for an alliance of small island states at risk of flooding as sea levels rise.

It's believed to be the largest peer-review exercise in the world, as has been noted by an IPCC spokesperson.

The report summary said renewable energy would need to supply 70 per cent to 85 per cent of electricity by 2050 to stay within a 1.5C limit, compared with about 25 per cent now. One is that there are a big difference in terms of the impacts of climate change at 1.5 and 2 degrees, and the other one is that we really need quite radical changes to the amount of emissions we have globally.

The scientists said the report was meant to guide more than just governments, however, and that action by everyone - including individuals and businesses - would be required to hold the line on climate change.

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"EGU concurs with, and supports, the findings of the SR15 that action to curb the most unsafe consequences of human-induced climate change is urgent, of the utmost importance and the window of opportunity extremely limited".

Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete for Climate Action and Energy and Commissioner Carlos Moedas for Research, Science and Innovation welcome the report, issued two months before the worldwide climate talks in Katowice, Poland.

To avoid racing past warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over preindustrial levels would require a "rapid and far reaching" transformation of human civilisation at a magnitude that has simply never happened before, the group found.

With the world's urban population expected to grow to 59 per cent by 2030, city-dwellers will increasingly come under threat.

In Kiribati, he'd seen homes flooded by salt water, wells that had become undrinkable - and "incredible, vibrant people" who were leading the transition to a clean energy future.

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"Statistically significant reductions in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita growth are projected across much of the African continent, southeast Asia, India, Brazil and Mexico", the report said. The scientists concluded that carbon dioxide emissions should be cut 45 percent by 2030 from 2010 levels then reduced to zero by 2050. Yet climate action is more than simply dealing with extreme weather events; it also involves dealing with slow onset impacts on food production, human security, and environmental stability, as much as extreme events like typhoons.

Scientists have said the 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. A 2°C warmer world will devastate economies and ecosystems and push hundreds of millions of people back into poverty.

That gives us just over a decade to take significant steps to check emissions or nearly certainly face destructive consequences. It now plans to transform the agriculture, waste, industry, transportation, forestry, and energy sectors to become resilient to extreme conditions, especially against slow onset events like droughts and rising sea levels.

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. And furthermore, the way things are going, we may achieve 1.5 degrees by 2040. "It's their decision, but we provide the scientific information". And there's a very clear message that the pledges that countries may have made are not enough.

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