8 october 2018

IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C

Centre for Science and Environment, October 08, 2018

The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C clearly establishes that the world has already warmed by 1.0°C since pre-industrial levels. Some regions have warmed even more. India, for instance, has warmed by about 1.2°C.1 The impact of this warming is already visible and is being experienced across the world. This year alone, various parts of the world were battered by extreme weather events in some form or the other — be it heat waves or drought in Europe and China, forest fires in the US, dust storms and unprecedented rainfall in parts of India, including historically high rainfall in Kerala and high precipitation in Japan and other island nations. With a further 0.5°C warming, the effects would be far greater and more pronounced than what science had already envisaged. The IPCC’s 1.5°C Report gives out the following prognosis:

Key takeaways

• Human activities have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels. At this level of warming, intensity and frequency of weather extremes has already increased.

• The impacts at 1.5°C of warming on people and ecosystems is much higher than anticipated in the previous scientific reports.

• The impacts at 2°C will be far higher than 1.5°C and will be catastrophic for the poor and the developing countries.

• The goal of the Paris Agreement to limit warming to 2°C must be revised. For a safer world, the target must now be firmly put at 1.5°C.

• To remain within 1.5°C warming, the world will have to reduce CO2 emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 from 2010 levels and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

• Current efforts to fight climate change is meager and weak. The pledges made by the countries in the Paris Agreement will take us to 1.5°C between 2032-2050. Time to act is now.

• Even at 1.2°C warming, which is a little higher than the global annual average, India is severely affected by climate impacts. The impacts will increase significantly at 1.5°C and would be catastrophic for farmers and coastal communities at 2°C.

• The United States is the biggest obstacle to forming a global coalition to fight climate change. The US has not endorsed the IPCC 1.5°C report and has announced that it would exit from the Paris Agreement soon. Also, it is promoting large-scale use of fossil fuels.

• In the wake of utmost urgency to address climate change, the world needs a ‘Plan B’ to fight climate change as the ‘Plan A’, which is the Paris Agreement, will fail to contain temperatures within safer limits.

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