Stark warning says we have a decade to avoid catastrophic climate change

Protest An activist is arrested at the German Embassy in London yesterday in a protest against coal

And now, a new report from the United Nations' scientific panel on climate change got way more real than scientists had previously expected.

A recent report, before the IPCC publication, by Oxfam and the World Resources Institute found that reducing SLCPs warranted a much greater focus than it has received in climate change efforts. The events are being reported as two parts of the same story, but they reveal the contradictions inherent in climate policy-and why economics matters more than ever.

And if we hold warming to 1.5 degrees instead of 2 degrees, the report suggests global sea level rise will be a whole 10 centimetres lower - potentially stopping what the report describes as a "disproportionately rapid evacuation" of people from the tropics.

This target was long considered the threshold for the most risky effects of climate change, including the mass destruction of coral reefs, widespread food shortages, destructive wildfires and coastal flooding.

Society would have to enact "unprecedented" changes to how it consumes energy, travels and builds to meet a lower global warming target or it risks increases in heat waves, flood-causing storms and the chances of drought in some regions as well as the loss of species, a United Nations report said on Monday.

In fact, limiting warming to 1.5 degree celsius rather than 2 degree celsius could result in 420 million fewer people being exposed to severe heat waves, says the report. The first stabilises global temperature around the 1.5°C mark with limited overshoot and the second permits temperatures to exceed 1.5°C temporarily before coming back down.

Although he didn't specify which reports he was referring to, he has often cited research by the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation when trying to make the case that cutting carbon emissions would have little effect on global temperatures.


Canada would have to cut its emissions nearly in half over the next 12 years to meet the stiffer targets dozens of worldwide climate change experts say is required to prevent catastrophic results from global warming.

"The announcements and proposals made by the new administration have not been finalized, they are not based on science and the law and that is not exactly a winning formula when you go to the courts", she said. How much more urgent can it get?" and "Science pronounces its verdict: "World to be doomed at 2°C, less risky at 1.5°C" and "A major new climate report slams the door on wishful thinking".

The IPCC report is undeniably grim, but its authors state that the 1.5°C target can still be met if unprecedented, wide-ranging action is taken straight away.

The report says the world will need an annual average investment of 2.4 trillion dollars between 2016 and 2035 (which is 2.5% of present world GDP) in energy system alone to limit the global warming to 1.5 degree celsius.

RealClimateScience.com's Tony Heller ticked off past failed predictions of global-warming disaster, such as a 1989 U.N. warning that "entire nations could be wiped from the face of the earth" by rising seas unless global warming was reversed by 2000.

"It's not about remote science; it's about where we live and work", said Dr Debra Roberts. It would also cut down on species loss and extinction and reduce the impact on various ecosystems.

Small islands and coastal cities such as NY and Mumbai risk going underwater without the installation of sea barriers. To prevent that, the world has to cut the amount of emissions released each year by 2030 so that they are no more than 55 per cent of what they were in 2010. Even that more modest goal is out of reach for now despite plans such as the controversial national carbon price, making buildings more energy efficient and eliminating coal as a source of electricity by 2030.

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