Action Needed Now in Climate Crisis

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Avoiding global climate chaos will require a major transformation of society and the world economy that is "unprecedented in scale", the United Nations said Monday in a landmark report that warns time is running out to avert disaster.

Not only environmental implications but an increase in global temperatures can increase poverty rates as it has been projected as "poverty multiplier through food insecurity, higher food prices and income losses".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday said that Australia would not abandon its Paris agreement commitment to reduce emissions by 26 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 but said that his government would not be "held to" the IPCC report.

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.

According to the report, we are already seeing strong consequences of 1°C of global warming through extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice.

"Even the scientists were surprised to see how much science was already there and how much they could really differentiate and how great are the benefits of limiting global warming at 1.5 compared to 2", Thelma Krug, vice-chair of the IPCC, told Reuters in an interview.

Sea level rises would be 10cm lower with a 1.5C temperature rise compared to 2C by the end of the century.

Even with a temperature increase of 1.5C, coral reefs are expected to decline by 70-90 per cent.

The IPCC, the UN's top climate panel, issued the report from Incheon, Republic of Korea, where for the past week, hundreds of scientists and government representatives have been pouring over thousands of inputs to paint a picture of what could happen to the planet and its inhabitants with global warming of 1.5°C (or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

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But most governments now fear the cost of a global overhaul of the world's energy economy in the short time needed to meet the Paris climate goals. And furthermore, the way things are going, we may achieve 1.5 degrees by 2040.

Didier Roche, President of the EGU Climate: Past, Present and Future Division, highlighted the differences between the two global warming limits included in the Paris climate agreement as analysed in detail in SR15: "You might think that 1.5°C versus 2°C is a small difference".

"The second is the unprecedented nature of the changes that are required if we are to limit warming to 1.5C - changes to energy systems, changes to the way we manage land, changes to the way we move around with transportation".

Global net emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach "net zero" around 2050 in order to keep the warming around 1.5°C.

"Limiting warming to 1.5°C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes", said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

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

"It's a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now", said Debra Roberts, a co-chair of the working group on impacts. "The next few years are probably the most important in our history, ' she said", as cited in the IPCC press release in question.

These so-called shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs), which focus on mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, are a fairly new innovation and draw a new dimension to climate modeling: the impact of changes in human behavior.

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