UN report warns of catastrophic consequences of climate change within 20 years

UN report warns of catastrophic consequences of climate change within 20 years

To have the best chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, the world needs to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius-and to do that, society needs to completely transform over the next three decades, according to a new report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It is based on more than 6,000 scientific references and contributions from thousands of experts and government reviewers around the world.

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.

The report, fully titled as Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty, can found on the IPCC website.

If global emissions continue as per the commitments made under Paris Agreement, the carbon budget (the amount of CO2 that the world can emit) for 1.5°C warming will be exhausted by 2030, the CSE said referring to the report.

The WWF called on the European Union to take urgent action to limit global warming to 1.5ºC, saying in a press release: "Approved by 195 governments, the report underscores the small window of opportunity we have to make immediate, deep and transformational changes - without which the world we know will be irreversibly changed".

If warming is limited to 1.5 degrees, the effects of climate change will be serious but manageable. Essential for pollinating crops, they will be more likely to lose half their habitat at two degrees than 1.5. However, the world has already warmed about 1 deg C since pre-industrial times.

Reacting to the findings of the report, Harsh Vardhan said, "We have not been waiting for a report to take action against climate change".

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Efforts to curb climate change must also extend beyond the 2015 Paris Agreement reached among 197 countries - which President Trump withdrew the United States from in June 2017.

In order to limit warming at 1.5°C, the world will have to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 from the 2010 levels and reach net-zero emissions by 2050, it said.

"The next few years are probably the most important in human history", IPCC co-chair Debra Roberts, head of the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department in South Africa, told Agence France-Presse.

Global temperature is now rising 0.2C with each decade, and it is estimated we will reach 1.5C by 2040.

"The government (is) supportive of small business, of industry, of farms, and of coal mining", he said.

"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.

This report shows the longer we leave it to act, the more hard, the more expensive and the more unsafe it will be.

The data in the UN's new document is unlikely to sway Trump, who has vowed to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement and has taken steps to dismantle every major policy created to reduce the nation's carbon footprint.

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