Monday, 19 November, 2018

ECU atmospheric professor weighs in on new climate change report

Placard reads Act Now, Idiots: Everything You Need To Know About The UN Climate Change Report
Edmund Robinson | 12 October, 2018, 00:31

"The next few years are probably the most important in human history", IPCC co-chair Debra Roberts, head of the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department in South Africa, told Agence France-Presse.

"Climate change is already affecting people, livelihood and ecosystems all around the world".

One is that there are a big difference in terms of the impacts of climate change at 1.5 and 2 degrees, and the other one is that we really need quite radical changes to the amount of emissions we have globally.

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.

With a global temperature increase of 1.5C, there would be a 16 per cent increase in the number of hot days whereas with 2C, this rises further to 25 per cent.

Former George Tech atmospheric-sciences professor Judith A. Curry described the report's conclusions as the "same old, same old", based on questionable climate models and not "new science or better ways of assessing uncertainty".

The IPCC, the UN's top climate panel, issued the report from Incheon, Republic of Korea, where for the past week, hundreds of scientists and government representatives have been pouring over thousands of inputs to paint a picture of what could happen to the planet and its inhabitants with global warming of 1.5°C (or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). "If you would like to stabilize global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius the key message is that net Carbon dioxide emissions at the global scale must reach zero by 2050".

The study was urgent because CO2, the main greenhouse gas, reached record levels in the atmosphere a year ago, and current pledges to cut emissions under the Paris Agreement would lead to warming of about 3 deg C.

If we fail to meet this objective and global temperatures rise by even a mere half a degree Celsius more to 2°C (3.6°F), the effects on our planet are expected to be devastating.




The IPCC was established by the United Nations Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments about climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies.

The report says a 2C rise will lead to more heatwaves and extreme rainstorms, more people facing water shortages and drought, greater economic losses and lower yields for major crops than 1.5C.

"There are some areas we are making progress quickly enough that they are compatible with 1.5C, the example of renewables is one, where we've seen costs falling and deployment across the world". The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century, instead of at least once per decade.

"The IPCC report is very clear that government commitments are far from sufficient and will not achieve the Paris Agreement's warming limit - there needs to be a redoubled effort to increase the level of ambition for 2030", says Rueanna Haynes, SIDS climate advisor.

"Limiting warming to 1.5º C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes", said Jim Skea, co-chair of IPCC Working Group III.

But the report said the efficacy of measures, such as planting forests, bioenergy use or capturing and storing CO2, were unproven at a large scale and carried some risks.

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

In December this year, Paris Agreement signatories will gather once more at the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland to review their progress.

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