Limiting warming to 1.5°C possible, will save 420m people

Limiting warming to 1.5°C possible, will save 420m people

Increasingly, you don't have to convince Australian farmers of that.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, requested by governments, was issued ahead of a United Nations conference in December in Poland that will consider how to increase country ambitions to cut emissions and manage climate risks better.

A world with 2°C of warming will be a planet without coral reefs.

By largely ignoring such feedbacks, the IPCC report fails to adequately warn leaders about the cluster of six similar climate tipping points that could be crossed between today's temperature and an increase to 1.5 degrees-let alone almost another dozen tipping points between 1.5 and 2 degrees. Many of us may even be feeling its effects right now with air pollution and increasing annual rainfall, but the long-term consequences are even more unsettling.

Since the report examines pathways available to limit warming to 1.5 degree celsius and what it would take to achieve them and what the consequences could be, it will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

Australian professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the University of Queensland says: "The report strongly concludes that climate change is already affecting people, ecosystems and livelihood all around the world and that is beyond reasonable doubt that humans are responsible". By lowering emissions and deploying carbon capture technology, we could possibly bring temperatures back down under the threshold.

"One of the major issues is that there would be 420 million people less suffering because of climate change if we would be able to limit the warming to 1.5-degree level".

Action in cities - which consume more than two-thirds of energy globally and account for about three-quarters of carbon emissions - are pivotal to meeting the target, said report author William Solecki, a professor at Hunter College-City University of NY.

Limiting warming to 1.5°C possible, will save 420m people
Limiting warming to 1.5°C possible, will save 420m people

At the current rate of global warming, the world's temperatures are set to increase by another 1.5C between 2030 and 2052.

World Wildlife Fund Australia campaigner Monica Richter said food waste is one area where consumer decisions can make an impact on global warming. But even a 1.5°C rise in temperature will be threatening to India.

At current levels of greenhouse gas emissions, earth could pass the 1.5 C marker as early as 2030, and no later than mid-century, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change reports with "high confidence".

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Tropical nations most affected by climate asked the UN to create a report showing the difference in impact between a 1.5 degree Celcius (2.7 degrees F) and a 2.0 C (3.6 degree F) increase.

A Summary for Policymakers of the 400-page tome underscores how quickly global warming has outstripped humanity's attempt to tame it, and outlines options for avoiding the worst ravages of a climate-addled future. "This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing Carbon dioxide from the air", it says.

"We need radical and systemic change", Li said.

To stop this happening, the world will need to make "unprecedented" changes in power generation, industry, transport, buildings and potential shifts in lifestyle such as eating less meat, according to the International Panel on Climate Change. It's up to them to use this manual, considering the constraints or opportunities existing in different countries.

Professor Corinne Le Quere, from the University of East Anglia, said: "For the United Kingdom, this means a rapid switch to renewable energy and electric cars, insulating our homes, planting trees, where possible walking or cycling and eating well - more plants and less meat - and developing an industry to capture carbon and store it underground".

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