Slowing Global Warming Would Require ‘Unprecedented’ Effort

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued an extraordinary warning. If the world is to keep global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, it will require “unprecedented” effort. A rise above that would have catastrophic effects.

The full IPCC name of the new report about global warming is “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.”

The report largely compared the difference between a rise of 1.5 degrees and 2.0 degrees Celsius. Among the major differences:

The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2°C.

Other effects of a threshold of a 1.5-degree rise:

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

While the report says this is not impossible, it is not optimistic either.