Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Which message best motivates change: IPCC or the Nobel Prize?

Steven Clarke | 10 October, 2018, 08:56

Faced with a major United Nations report that warns of floods, drought, extreme heat and increased poverty should the world not take radical action to address climate change, Donald Trump has been uncharacteristically reluctant to speak out.

Henn was actually responding to Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann who was pushing back against those criticizing the IPCC report as too "alarmist" in its declarations and warnings.

"Limiting warming to 1.5º 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.

Of course, these two methods will need a lot of global political engagement in an increasingly short time, and with certain big player administrations like Trump's now stalling worldwide cooperation, that 2030 deadline is looking more and more ominous.

A new United Nations report says the targets set by the Paris climate accord aren't enough to stop massive ecosystem change in the next 50 years.

The Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its gloomy report at a meeting in Incheon, South Korea.

But as of Tuesday evening, Trump said he has not read it yet.

Taalas says governments have about 30 years to stop using fossil fuels and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The Trump administration has dismantled emissions reduction policies domestically, and vowed to ditch the Paris treaty on attempting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

Many in Trump's Republican party are self-described climate change skeptics, questioning whether the overwhelming consensus of scientists around the world about manmade causes for ever-rising temperatures is accurate.

Bruno Mars 'hires' Ed Sheeran to sing 'Happy Birthday'
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The world will see catastrophic effects of climate change if temperatures climb to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels, according to a new report.

"Such large transitions pose profound challenges for sustainable management of the various demands on land for human settlements, food, livestock feed, fibre, bioenergy, carbon storage, biodiversity and other ecosystem services", the report stated.

The report says the world needs to reach zero net emissions of carbon dioxide by 2050 to prevent a further rise in temperature. The world now pumps more than 40 billion tons of Carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year; the IPCC calls for that number to be cut by more than 1 billion tons per year over the next decade.

"Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5º C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes", said Hans-Otto Pörtner, co-chair of IPCC Working Group II. Sea levels would be at least 10 centimeters higher by the end of the century at 2 degrees than they would be with 1.5 degrees.

To slash that to less than 1.5C as laid out in the Paris agreement will require "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society".

"Scientists might want to write in capital letters, 'ACT NOW IDIOTS, ' but they need to say that with facts and numbers, and they have", said Greenpeace climate activist Kaisa Kosonen, who was an observer at recent IPCC meetings.

From the beginning of next year, a new global pact will take effect that could have a profound impact on climate change, cutting harmful greenhouse gas emissions by amounts that could help stave off some of the worst impacts predicted by the IPCC.

The world has reached a fork in the road with two paths ahead: a planet that's 2°C warmer than pre-industrial levels and a planet that's 1.5°C warmer.

"All of these things are fantastic and things that we really need the city to invest in, but these are not going to be things that we achieve in that timeline we've set out if we continue to underfund the plan", Sritharan said.

Much of the slowdown since 2016 was driven by a combination in reductions by the USA and China.

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