Oct 08, 2018
Underscoring the need for "rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented" changes to life as we know it to combat the global climate crisis, a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)--the United Nations' leading body for climate science--details what the world could look like if the global temperature rises to 1.5degC versus 2degC (2.7degF versus 3.6degF) above pre-industrial levels, and outlines pathways to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.
"This is a climate emergency. The IPCC 1.5 report starkly illustrates the difference between temperature rises of 1.5degC and 2degC--for many around the world this is a matter of life and death."
--Karin Nansen, FOEI
"Climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet," the report reads. "Human-induced warming has already reached about 1degC (1.8degF) above pre-industrial levels at the time of writing of this Special Report... If the current warming rate continues, the world would reach human-induced global warming of 1.5degC around 2040."
Approved by the IPCC in South Korea on Saturday ahead of COP24 in Poland in December, Global Warming of 1.5degC was produced by 91 authors and reviewers from 40 countries. Its release has elicited calls to action from climate campaigners and policymakers the world over.
"This is a climate emergency. The IPCC 1.5 report starkly illustrates the difference between temperature rises of 1.5degC and 2degC--for many around the world this is a matter of life and death," declared Karin Nansen, chair of Friends of the Earth International (FOEI). "It is crucial to keep temperature rise well below 1.5 degrees without offsetting, carbon markets, and geoengineering, but the evidence presented by the IPCC shows that there is a narrow and shrinking window in which to do so."
The report was requested when the international community came together in December of 2015 for the Paris agreement, which aims to keep global warming within this century "well below" 2degC, with an ultimate target of 1.5degC. President Donald Trump's predecessor supported the accord, but Trump has vowed to withdraw the United States, even as every other nation on the planet has pledged their support for it. In many cases, however, sworn support hasn't led to effective policy.
"It's a fresh reminder, if one was needed, that current emissions reduction pledges are not enough to meet the long-term goals of the Paris agreement. Indeed, they are not enough for any appropriately ambitious temperature target, given what we know about dangerous climate impacts already unfolding even at lower temperature thresholds," Rachel Cleetus, lead economist and climate policy manager for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), wrote ahead of its release.
"The policy implications of the report are obvious: We need to implement a suite of policies to sharply limit carbon emissions and build climate resilience, and we must do all this is in a way that prioritizes equitable outcomes particularly for the world's poor and marginalized communities," Cleetus added.
"We want a just transition to a clean energy system that benefits people not corporations," Nansen emphasized. "Only with a radical transformation of our energy, food and economic systems, embracing environmental, social, gender and economic justice, can we prevent climate catastrophe and temperature rises exceeding 1.5degC."
\u201cToday's #IPCC report shows just how fast the window is closing. 1.5\u02daC means no fossil fuels, as fast as possible. On October 13, let\u2019s send this message loud and clear - deliver the report on #1o5C where you live: https://t.co/fLfVN3VB5N #FossilFree\u201d— 350 dot org (@350 dot org) 1538993249
"The science in the IPCC report on 1.5degC speaks for itself. Staying under 1.5oC is now a matter of political will," responded 350.org program director Payal Parekh. "The climate crisis is here and already impacting the most vulnerable and the least responsible for creating it. The only way to achieve it is to stop all fossil fuel extraction and redirect the massive resources currently spent on the fossil fuel economy towards the renewable energy transition."
\u201cThe @IPCC_CH report on #GlobalWarming of 1.5\u00b0C is one of the most important #climatechange reports ever published. Limiting temperature increase requires unprecedented changes in society, but will have huge benefits. Every half a degree of warming matters. https://t.co/a7GOzVFv50\u201d— IPCC (@IPCC) 1538985162
The report's key findings--outlined in the Summary for Policymakers--include:
- Climate models project robust differences in regional climate characteristics between present-day and global warming of 1.5degC, and between 1.5degC and 2degC. These differences include increases in: mean temperature in most land and ocean regions, hot extremes in most inhabited regions, heavy precipitation in several regions, and the probability of drought and precipitation deficits in some regions;
- Climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5degC and increase further with 2degC;
- Pathways limiting global warming to 1.5degC with no or limited overshoot would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems. These systems transitions are unprecedented in terms of scale, but not necessarily in terms of speed, and imply deep emissions reductions in all sectors, a wide portfolio of mitigation options, and a significant upscaling of investments in those options;
- All pathways that limit global warming to 1.5degC with limited or no overshoot project the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR);
- Limiting the risks from global warming of 1.5degC in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication implies system transitions that can be enabled by an increase of adaptation and mitigation investments, policy instruments, the acceleration of technological innovation and behavior changes;
- Strengthening the capacities for climate action of national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities can support the implementation of ambitious actions implied by limiting global warming to 1.5degC. International cooperation can provide an enabling environment for this to be achieved in all countries and for all people, in the context of sustainable development. International cooperation is a critical enabler for developing countries and vulnerable regions.
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.