Only 12 Years Left to Readjust for the 1.5 Degree Climate Change Option – says IPCC Report. Current Commentary.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently published a report1 (abbreviated as SR15) which concludes that humankind has a mere twelve years left, during which time sufficient and dramatic carbon-emission mitigation strategies must be inaugurated to avoid the “global average temperature” from rising above the 1.5 oC limit which the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement2,3 aimed for, while pledging to keep it “well below 2 oC above pre-industrial levels”. The Agreement was endorsed by 195 countries2, although the United States later conspicuously withdrew from it3. Contained within the Decision of the 21st Conference of Parties, of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to adopt the Paris Agreement, was an invitation4 to the IPCC to deliver a Special Report, in 2018, which ascertained the changes that would be caused by a 1.5 oC elevation in global average temperature, and what measures might be introduced in order to hold global warming in check such that this level is not exceeded. In 2016, the IPCC Panel accepted the invitation, adding that these issues would also be considered “in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty” 4. The final report1, which was released on October 9th 2018, emphasised that reducing the degree of warming by half a degree, from 2 oC to 1.5 oC, would significantly ameliorate some of the worst effects of climate change, in particular reducing the number of people likely to be affected by water shortages by 50%, but the most significant influence would be on the Natural World: for example, it is expected that practically all (>99%) coral reefs (Fig. 1) would be lost by a 2 oC increase, whereas at 1.5 oC, this would be ameliorated to a decline of within 70–90 %.
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