Action Needed Now in Climate Crisis

Action Needed Now in Climate Crisis

Action Needed Now in Climate Crisis

Friends of the Earth Scotland director Dr Richard Dixon said: "The bill doesn't commit to the action necessary to limit warming to 1.5C, it doesn't deliver on the Paris Agreement, and it doesn't deliver on Nicola Sturgeon's promise to ensure that Scotland plays our full part in tackling this global problem". It will be one of the main items discussed at a global conference in Poland in December, when governments will review the Paris Agreement (which the United States withdrew from in June 2017).

Limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels would put an end to burning fossil fuels to generate power.

"Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5°C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems", Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II Hans-Otto Pörtner said. By 2050, the world needs to move towards zero carbon emissions or remove as much carbon dioxide from the air as it produces.

The report by the United Nations body for climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warns that without "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes" the next generation will face extreme heat waves, droughts and rising sea levels while farmers battle to produce viable crops.

The scientists concluded that the "Total annual average energy -related mitigation investment for the period 2015 to 2050 in pathways limiting warming to 1.5 degree Celsius is estimated to be around $900 billion at 2015 prices.

Indeed, they are not enough for any appropriately ambitious temperature target, given what we know about unsafe climate impacts already unfolding even at lower temperature thresholds", Rachel Cleetus, lead economist and climate policy manager for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), wrote ahead of its release.

Scientists have been sounding the alarm on climate change for decades, yet global emissions are expected to rise again in 2018.

The IPCC study, which took almost three years to complete and involved 91 authors from 40 countries, is the first to look in detail at the 1.5 deg C limit, which is one of the goals in the 2015 UN Paris Climate Agreement.

As the IPCC's reports are largely based on a critical assessment and synthesis of published scientific papers, many of its latest conclusions are unsurprising.

Limiting global warming to 1.5 instead of 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, as called for under the Paris climate agreement, would curtail global sea level rise, reduction of Arctic sea ice, and the decline of coral reefs, according to the report.

"The next few years are probably the most important in our history", said Debra Roberts, an IPCC co-chair. Plants, insects, animals, and marine life will all be pushed farther out of current geographic ranges with 2 degrees of warming.

At the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, worldwide leaders agreed to keep global warming "well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels" with the hopes to limit this to just 1.5°C. The National Oceanographic Centre in Southampton calculated that sea level rise caused by temperatures exceeding 1.5C would cost £10.7trillion a year by 2100.

But the report said some measures, such as planting forests, bioenergy use or capturing and storing CO2, remained unproven on a large scale and carried some risks.

Monday's report was produced by three IPCC working groups.

Starting in 1994, a central aim of the UN's climate change efforts (the Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC) was to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would "prevent unsafe anthropogenic interference with the climate system". Currently, however, the world is on track to see between 2.7 and 3.4 degrees of warming, the IPCC has said.

The targets rely on increased use of renewable energy, to the point that they product 70 to 85% of electricity supplies by 2050. But a lower temperature increase would allow humanity more precious time with which to adapt to the adverse conditions presented by climate change.

A summary of the Special Report on Global Warming is available here.

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