Limit climate change ? do everything and do it now, scientists plead

Landmark UN climate report warns time quickly running out

A newly published special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) cautions that humanity must make rapid and unprecedented changes to all facets of society if it is to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F), and so mitigate the potentially devastating effects of global warming.

The IPCC noted in its report that the transitions needed are "unprecedented in terms of scale, but not necessarily in terms of speed, and imply deep emissions reductions in all sectors, a wide portfolio of mitigation options and a significant upscaling of investments in those options".

Climate scientists have been studying the effect of a global temperature rise of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) over preindustrial levels and have determined that is the maximum possible warming before sea level rise, drought, and other climate-change effects become catastrophic.

A landmark United Nations report paints a dire picture of the catastrophic consequences the world will face if immediate action is not taken to limit the global warming to 1.5°C, warning that at 2°C, the world could see 10 cm more global sea level rise, loss of all coral-reefs and worsening food shortages.

Society would have to enact "unprecedented" changes to how it consumes energy, travels and builds to meet a lower global warming target or it risks increases in heat waves, flood-causing storms and the chances of drought in some regions as well as the loss of species, a United Nations report said on Monday.

The report will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December when governments will review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

Today at only 1.1 degrees of warming globally, crops and livestock across the region are being hit and hunger is rising, [i] with poor small-scale women farmers, living in rural areas suffering the most.

Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees would also give the world a better chance of avoiding major tipping points like the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

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If the average global temperature temporarily exceeded 1.5C, additional carbon removal techniques would be required to return warming to below 1.5C by 2100.

The report's authors and representatives of 195 governments which are members of the IPCC have then met to finalise the "summary for policymakers" report, which involves agreeing it line-by-line. And temperatures are expected to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2030 if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at their current rates, according to the report.

"The next few years are probably the most important in our history", Debra Roberts, co-chair of the IPCC Working Group II, said in a statement marking the report's release.

Labor and the Greens signalled that climate change was a likely election battleground. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching "net zero" around 2050.

Experts say meeting that target is critical not only for the environment, but also to safeguard poor and vulnerable communities on the frontline of the climate threat.

The Government and its climate advisers have been waiting for the findings of the report.

The data in the UN's new document is unlikely to sway Trump, who has vowed to pull the USA 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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