Ex-EPA chief says burning coal is worst thing for climate change

The Great Barrier Reef off the northeastern coast of Australia in December 2017

Under the 2015 Paris accord, countries agreed to limit the average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees, with a goal of no more than 1.5 degrees.

The report, which encompasses more than 6,000 scientific references, has found that some of the most severe climate change scenarios could be felt at an even lower temperatures of global warming, occurring decades earlier than expected. For people, it would greatly reduce the risk of water shortages, food scarcity, and poverty related to climate change.

To contain warming at 1.5C, manmade global net carbon dioxide emissions would need to fall by about 45 percent by 2030 from 2010 levels and reach "net zero" by mid-century, the report said.

More than 2,500 were killed in India when temperatures reached highs of 48 degrees between May and June three years ago. "But doing so would require unprecedented changes".

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These include the new European Union 2030 renewable energy target of 32%, the new energy efficiency target of 32.5%, the reform of the European Union emission trading system, the emission reduction targets in sectors falling outside the scope of ETS and the integration of land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) in the EU's climate and energy framework.

In addition, insects and plants will be almost twice as likely to lose half of their habitat if global temperatures rose by 2°C as compared to if they went up by 1.5°C. Whether the political will exists to make it happen remains up to the governments, authors of the report cautioned during a press conference announcing the findings. We ask that any comments by climate-change denialists be flagged for moderation.

"The next few years are probably the most important in our history", said Debra Roberts, co-chair of the IPCC working group that addresses impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability, in the statement.

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She pointed out that United States carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 were at their lowest level since 1992, outlining an approach to climate change that has "unburdened communities, individuals, and industries by allowing them to develop and implement policies that fit their needs".

Greenpeace East Asia climate and energy campaigner Walton Li said Hong Kong possessed one of the largest carbon footprints in the world and had a responsibility to "radically" revise its emissions strategy.

It is critical that world leaders understand the IPCC report and use it as a template for immediate action.

The pledges nations made in the Paris agreement in 2015 are "clearly insufficient to limit warming to 1.5 in any way", one of the study's lead authors, Joerj Roeglj of the Imperial College in London, said. And now, Australia's set to meet neither of these targets.

Industries and investors need to be bold and far-sighted, for example by cutting all links to fossil fuels and supporting a carbon price. One recent report calculated the benefits at $26 trillion.

This again puts Trump at odds with the rest of the world when it comes to climate change, with the United States the world's only country to disavow the Paris climate agreement, which committed governments to attempt to stay within the 1.5C limit. The decision to eat less meat, particularly beef, and dairy products has been identified by researchers as making a bigger impact on lowering greenhouse gas emissions than reducing flights or buying an electric vehicle.

That promise came with plans to cut emissions, but now the IPCC isn't sure we'll get the job done. "We discussed, for instance, how much land would need to be diverted from agriculture to forestry (for creating carbon stocks) for capturing carbon, or growing biofuel", the person told The Hindu.

"Urban systems that are moving towards transformation are coupling solar and wind with battery storage and electric vehicles in a more incremental transition, though this would still require changes in regulations, tax incentives, new standards, demonstration projects and education programs to enable markets for this system to work", the IPCC report said.

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