'Tipping points' could exacerbate climate crisis, scientists fear
- Sandy Mccarthy
To limit warming to the lower temperature goal, the world needs "rapid and far-reaching" changes in energy systems, land use, city and industrial design, transportation and building use, the report said. Temperatures would be 1.5C higher between 2030 and 2052 if the world continued at its current pace, it warned.
During that historic conference in Paris three years ago, 197 nations (over 170 states and the European Union) had adopted new targets to help curb global warming, but in a controversial move, Donald Trump pulled the US out in June 2017, saying it was "unfair" to this country.
Stephanie Pfeifer, chief executive of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) which represents investors with trillions of pounds of assets under management, said the report showed limiting global warming to 1.5C is what was needed.
The report was prepared at the request of governments when the global pact to tackle climate change was agreed in Paris almost three years ago.
And if we hold warming to 1.5 degrees instead of 2 degrees, the report suggests global sea level rise will be a whole 10 centimetres lower - potentially stopping what the report describes as a "disproportionately rapid evacuation" of people from the tropics.
The report makes it evidently clear that a 1.5°C world would witness greater sea level rise, increased precipitation and increased frequency of droughts and floods, more hotter days and heatwaves, more intense tropical cyclones, increased ocean acidification and salinity.
"Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5ºC or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems", the report said.
Smaller nations have asked for equity in Carbon dioxide emission cuts to curb global warming, a time frame and funding from developed nations for climate change mitigation.
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The report also flags up how people could take the initiative by changing their lifestyles, from what they eat to how they travel and heat their homes.
Here's why: the report takes a look at the targets the world agreed to try and meet in the 2015 Paris Agreement, which was aimed at keeping global warming below 2°C (1.5°C, if possible).
Reaffirming the Federal Government's commitment to the Paris agreement, which aims to cut 2005-level emissions 26 per cent by 2030, Environment Minister Melissa Price said the IPCC report would be considered as part of a review of Australia's contribution to global action on climate change. Any additional carbon dioxide emissions would require removing the harmful gas from the air.
"E$3 ven with erroneous attribution of extreme weather/climate events and projections using climate models that are running too hot and not fit for goal of projecting 21st century climate change, the IPCC still has not made a strong case for this massive investment to prevent 1.5C warming", she said on her Climate Etc. blog.
However, the effectiveness of these techniques are unproven on a large scale, and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development, the report notes. When water heats up, it expands meaning when oceans likely continue to rise, the IPCC says, we can expect the oceans to rise between 28 to 98cm by 2100, enough to swamp numerous cities along the USA east coast.
This is the crux of the United Nations climate change science panel report that all the countries accepted on Saturday after a contentious and strenuous meeting between scientists and diplomats in Korea.
"The next few years are probably the most important in our history", she added.
"This report is not a wake-up call, it is a ticking time bomb", said Gro Harlem Brundtland, Acting Chair of The Elders in a statement. Working Group I assessed the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II addressed impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III dealt with the mitigation of climate change.
According to the report published on Monday, if world temperatures do indeed rise by two degrees Celsius, India could see deadly heat waves increase in frequency and become an annual condition.
Chandra Bhushan, the deputy director general of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), says, "Though it will be very hard in the current global economic system to limit warming to 1.5°C, it is not impossible".
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