Trump sceptical of United Nations climate change report findings

Christopher Davidson
October 10, 2018

Any additional carbon dioxide emissions would require removing the harmful gas from the air.

By 2050, humanity would need to cut its net emissions to zero.

According to the report published on Monday, if world temperatures do indeed rise by two degrees Celsius, India could see deadly heat waves increase in frequency and become an annual condition. But the window of opportunity will close for good the longer we delay'.

"It's telling us we need to reverse emissions trends and turn the world economy on a dime", Myles Allen, an Oxford University climate scientist and an author of the report, told The New York Times.

The 2015 Paris Accord (which no major industrialised country is now on track to meet) set out to prevent more than 2 degrees Celsius warming from preindustrial times. The Paris Agreement was aimed at keeping global warming below 2°C, and to try for 1.5°C if possible.

It's a higher budget, though, than would be expected based on the methods used in the previous IPCC assessment report-akin to resetting the doomsday clock to "five minutes to midnight", according to Oliver Geden, a climate researcher at the German Institute for global and Security Affairs.

But no matter how many warnings we receive - and let's be honest, at this point we have had far too many - no one is willing to put their foot down and pump the brakes.

The report highlights a number of climate impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5 °C compared to 2 °C, or more.

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And as a tool for policymakers, Geden and other experts have suggested that the carbon budget may not be especially useful-it is confusing, is subject to constant revision and may give world leaders a false sense of security about how much time they have left to continue emitting carbon dioxide, they've noted (Climatewire, May 22). The risk to fisheries would be lower. Coral reefs would have a chance to survive. But if warming stops at 2 degrees, more than 99% of reefs could disappear. If not, the researchers say, the threat to people, ecosystems and sustainable development will rise to irreversible levels.

The report lists various scenarios that might occur if the world hit 2 degrees of warming. And that would have the side benefit of avoiding more than 100 million premature deaths through this century, the report said.

The world needs to make decisions now for the future. Trillions of dollars will soon be invested in new infrastructure; if we make the wrong choices, they'll be locked in, according to the same recent report. Scientists have warned that the enormous changes in energy, transportation and land use required to meet this goal are technically possible, but now appear unlikely. By lowering emissions and deploying carbon capture technology, we could possibly bring temperatures back down under the threshold. Rather, it states with a high degree of confidence that "human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C". "Each year that the global economy fails to decarbonize at the required rate, the two-degree goal becomes more hard to achieve".

Climate change may not be a driving factor in the stock market on a day-to-day basis. "We have a lot of the solutions available to us today", she says.

Those cities will need more support to develop cleanly, prevent disasters and adapt to climate shifts, he added.

"You don't want to live in a 2°C world", Hunter Cutting, Director of Strategic Communications at Climate Nexus who observed the IPCC plenary, told IFLScience.

When governments made pledges for the Paris agreement, they knew those pledges would have to get much more ambitious-and the time for that to happen is now.

She pointed out that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 were at their lowest level since 1992, outlining an approach to climate change that has "unburdened communities, individuals, and industries by allowing them to develop and implement policies that fit their needs".

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