Governments around the world must take “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to avoid disastrous levels of global warming, says a stark new report from the global scientific authority on climate change.
The landmark UN report on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius was released in South Korea on Monday after a week-long meeting of the 195-nation Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
A “Summary for Policymakers” of the 400-page tome underscores how quickly global warming has outstripped humanity’s attempts to tame it, and outlines stark options --all requiring a makeover of the world economy-- for avoiding the worst ravages of climate change.
Capping global warming at 1.5C (2.7 F) above pre-industrial levels will require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”, the IPCC said.
At current levels of greenhouse gas emissions, we could pass the 1.5C marker as early as 2030, and no later than mid-century, the report finds with “high confidence”.
Earth’s average surface temperature has already gone up 1C --enough to unleash a crescendo of deadly extreme weather-- and is on track to rise another two or three degrees absent a sharp and sustained reduction in carbon pollution.
Most worrying of all, perhaps, are temperature thresholds between 1.5C and 2C that could push Arctic sea ice, methane-laden permafrost, and melting polar ice sheets with enough frozen water to lift oceans by a dozen metres, past a point of no return.
To have at least a 50-50 chance of staying under 1.5C without overshooting the mark, the world must, by 2050, become “carbon neutral”.
Oct 8, 2018-