Making Efforts To Combat Climate Change: Harsh Vardhan On UN Report

Catherine McKenna

Landmark UN climate report warns time quickly running out

The State Department on Saturday released a statement saying it appreciates the "hard work of the scientists and experts who authored the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C under considerable time pressure" and the agency's engagement with other members of the panel to finalize the special report by accepting the report from its authors and approving its Summary for Policymakers.

In any non-nightmarish scenario, world leaders would gather together upon receipt of this report, generated by highly respected scientists at the top of their game (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and work overtime to solve the worldwide and systemic problems stemming from overuse of dirty energy sources such as coal and the mass production of greenhouse gases, for two.

Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015.

BBC environment correspondent Matt McGrath outlines five key takeaways from one of the most important reports on rising temperatures issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

To have a chance of meeting the 1.5 degrees goal, climate-changing emissions would have to plunge 45 percent by 2030 compared to 2010 levels, the report said.

The 2015 Paris Accord (which no major industrialised country is now on track to meet) set out to prevent more than 2 degrees Celsius warming from preindustrial times.

What's the difference? With a 1.5-degree rise, about 14 percent of the world's population would be vulnerable to severe and deadly heat waves every five years; with a 2-degree rise, that figure jumps to 37 percent.

Current government commitments to curb climate change under the Paris pact, even if fully met, would still leave the world on track for warming of about 3 degrees Celsius, scientists said.

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Currently, the world has seen 1C of warming over the past 115 years, according to a United States report last year.

The Council today adopted conclusions on climate change which emphasise the unprecedented urgency which is needed to step up global efforts to avoid the risky effects of climate change. If the world were to cease all carbon-emitting activities tomorrow, the carbon already pumped into the air would still guarantee a few extra decades of warming. However, the world has already warmed about 1 deg C since pre-industrial times. On current trends the 1.5°C threshold could be reached as early as 2030.

At 1.5 degrees, the report finds that 70 to 90 percent of tropical coral reefs will vanish.

Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group says, "We've told you the scientific facts, the evidence, the cost, it is up to the governments now to decide what to do with it".

"International cooperation is absolutely imperative to limit emissions and therefore global warming and its impacts, as well as coordinating effective and widespread adaptation and mitigation", said Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, a fellow at the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales.

"Parties and governments that actually understand the science and believe in action need to be more courageous than they're being", he said. But the report warns that "the effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development".

The president in recent months has slammed wind power as a subsidy-dependent "killing field" for birds, all while rolling back a slew of regulations to boost the coal sector.

"It's not just about us: It's about the recognition that 1.5 degrees of warming is going to cause serious damage in a lot of parts of the world".

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