Key statistics from the United Nations climate report

Audrey Hill
October 12, 2018

Yesterday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations scientific and intergovernmental body, published the summary for policymakers of its Global Warming of 1.5ºC (SR15) report.

These are just a few examples taken from a depressingly long list of climate change threats that would be made significantly more unsafe if the temperature were to rise by 2°C or beyond by the end of the century.

It was Trump's first reaction to the report, which says that the Earth surface has warmed one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) and is on track toward an unliveable 3C or 4C rise.

The world has seen 1C of warming so far, with consequences such as more extreme weather already being felt, and there is more to come as temperatures continue to rise, the report said.

While it is not said that it is impossible to limit global warming to 1.5℃, however, scientists have said that attaining it would be a very hard task. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2 °C.

The report suggests that coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all ( 99 percent) would be lost with 2ºC. Limiting global warming to less than 2ºC will hopefully allow ecosystems and animals to adapt to the gradually rising temperatures.

More news: Spain: Heavy rains, floods kill at least five in Mallorca
More news: Israeli navy clashes with Palestinian boats as thousands riot at Gaza border
More news: Nathan Eovaldi to start Game 3 in NY

It is still possible to limit global warming to 1.5°C, the WMO official continued, "but we should change many things how we run our everyday business today". "The UK's net carbon emissions should be reduced by 60 per cent by 2030 - and to zero by 2050 or at least 80 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050". Scientists said "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" are required to limit the possibility of irreversible environmental damage. Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed or "overshoot" 1.5ºC would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove Carbon dioxide from the air to return global temperatures to below 1.5°C by 2100. Problematically, the effectiveness of the negative emissions techniques that would be relied upon in such a scenario is unproven on a large scale.

The lower target would also reduce species loss and extinction and the impact on terrestrial, freshwater and coastal ecosystems, the report said.

"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. When figures came out in the past few years noting that more than 500 million plastic straws were being used daily in the USA and they were polluting the ocean, local government after local government quickly moved to ban plastic straws. The report was prepared under the scientific leadership of all three IPCC working groups.

These so-called shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs), which focus on mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, are a fairly new innovation and draw a new dimension to climate modeling: the impact of changes in human behavior.

Their concerns meant a pledge to pursue efforts to limit temperature rises to 1.5C was included - after tough negotiations - alongside the commitment to keep them "well below" 2C in the global Paris climate agreement in 2015. "Global emissions of greenhouse gases have to approach zero already in 2050 to avoid the most harmful consequences". "The IPCC accepted the invitation, adding that the Special Report would look at these issues in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER