Global association cements plan to tackle climate change

Global association cements plan to tackle climate change

Even if global temperatures can be kept from rising by more than 1.5°C this century, many low-lying countries may still disappear. Zickfeld noted that such effects include rising sea levels, increased coastal flooding, mass coral death in the Great Barrier Reef, and higher-frequency, higher-intensity cases of heavy rainfall and heatwaves, such as the recent heatwaves in Europe.

Many low-lying countries say they may disappear under the sea if the 1.5° limit is breached. But most importantly: individual actions matter.

Twenty two eminent Australian scholars and health experts have signed a letter demanding the Federal Government phase out coal by 2050 following its rejection of a United Nations (UN) report warning that world has 12 years to limit a climate change catastrophe.

In the climate models in the new report, every scenario that keeps global warming below 1.5 degrees C involved carbon capture strategies, which are now largely theoretical or possible only on a small scale.

The IPCC report warns the world risks "tipping points" if warming is allowed to reach 2 degrees Celsius, setting a course towards uncontrollable and potentially catastrophic temperatures.

The panel report only told part of the story.

"But our lives, when keeping it below 1.5° with projected population rise and economic growth, will also look differently".

"Lives of people will never be the same again either way, but we can influence which future we end up with".

Dr Neville Ellis, UWA Research Fellow and contributor to the report, said the report examined the impact of global warming of 1.5°C, and ways of addressing it in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Leaked drafts of the new report suggest that global warming is on track to break the 1.5° mark by around 2040.

The agreement calls for national governments to keep the global temperature rise this century less than 2 degrees celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.

The IPCC has been in existence for 30 years and produces detailed assessments of the state of the climate every six or seven years. The group has worked to protect more than 40,000 acres of land.

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Those involved say the wide range of literature and the large number of authors involved is a key strength of the body.

"We don't base our reports on a single article that has an extreme conclusion, that contrasts with the available literature", said Dr Carolina Vera, a member of the IPCC bureau. Maybe. But, the more that each of us does to reduce carbon emissions the better chances we are giving ourselves and the planet.

In 2017, for example, President Donald Trump announced that the USA would be withdrawing from the Paris Accord, a landmark agreement within the United Nations to combat climate change.

But even if we could do all that in the next few years, it would not be enough. "Scientists can dream up that is feasible, but it's a pipedream".

As well as the science, there is also the politics.

For some countries, especially those who are major exporters of fossil fuels, limiting carbon emissions more rapidly than at present is a challenge. "What does it take?", said Kaisa Kosonen from Greenpeace.

The severity of the situation is brought into sharp focus with a look at the devastation caused in various small island developing states of the Caribbean previous year, due to a number of extreme hurricane events that cost lives and livelihood loss, and left billions of dollars in damage.

"A$3 ny sane person would take away a very, very sobering message upon reading this report", Oppenheimer says.

A Dutch appeals court on Tuesday (9 October) instructed the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions at a faster rate than planned, meaning they will have to be 25% below 1990 levels by the end of this decade.

The report will also likely state that lifestyle and dietary choices can make a significant difference - but there are no simple or cheap solutions. And while nuclear power and gas generation offset by carbon capture may play a role, the lion's share will have to come from renewable sources - 70-80 per cent in the IPCC's scenarios. The real obstacles are social and political.

The special report just released focused on one specific question: At which level should we restrain warming in order to prevent entering a danger zone, where the risks become so high that we may not be able to cope as a species?

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