Dire New UN Climate Change Report Says Earth Has 12 Years to Take Action

By Roni Dengler | October 8, 2018 5:50 pm
fossil fuels carbon dioxide emissions

(Credit: Mike Mareen/shutterstock)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, released a special report Monday on the impact of global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The IPCC report says that based on humanity’s current use of fossil fuels, they’re highly confident the world will reach those levels between 2030 and 2052. Warming to 1.5C will mean warmer average temperatures and increased flood hazards in some regions as well as biodiversity loss and food security impacts. Global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels would exacerbate these effects.

Ambitious Climate Agreement

In 2015, under the Paris Agreement, 197 countries decided to pursue strategies to curb global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to limit global average temperatures to 1.5C. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change invited the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — an international group of experts that review the scientific literature related to climate change — to prepare a report on the impact of warming to this level. In April 2016, the panel accepted. On Monday, the group released the report, which takes into account more than 6,000 scientific studies on the effects of global warming of 1.5C above preindustrial levels.

The report estimates human activities have already caused approximately 1 degree Celsius of global warming above preindustrial levels. This increase has led to more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice among other changes, the authors note. To limit warming to 2 degrees C, the panel determined CO2 emissions would have to drop a whopping 20 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 and hit zero by 2075. Capping warming at 1.5C means net anthropogenic CO2 emissions must decline by 45 percent in the next 12 years and fall to zero by 2050. Both marks would require deep emissions cuts in every sector on an unprecedented scale, according to the panel.

“It’s very clear that half a degree matters,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, a climate scientist at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission and co-chair of the IPCC’s Working Group I, in a press conference.

Degrees of Consequence

The panel’s report highlights the robust differences between the consequences that climate models predict for global warming at 1.5 degrees C and the climate change consequences at 2 degrees C. Global mean seal levels would rise 0.1 meter higher in 2 degrees C of warming compared to 1.5 degrees C for example. The half-degree difference would also mean smaller reductions in globally significant crop yields like maize, rice and wheat and less biodiversity loss and species extinction. The proportion of the world exposed to climate change induced water shortages would be up to 50 percent less with 1.5 degrees C warming compared to 2 degrees C.

Achieving a 1.5 degrees C limit will likely mean overshooting the target and then correcting with CO2 reduction measures such as planting trees, experts indicated.

“The pledges governments have made over the last three years are not enough to keep warming below 1.5 degrees even with ambitious and very challenging efforts after 2030,” Jim Skea, an energy expert and co-chair of IPCC’s Working Group III, said. “But it is possible within the laws of physics and chemistry to keep within 1.5 degrees of warming.”

Whether it is feasible depends on how governments enact their energy policies, according to Skea. “We’ve told [them] the scientific facts, the evidence, now it’s up to the governments to decide what to do with them,” he said.

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  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

    Earth Has 12 Years to Take Action” and so will it ever be.

  • Mike Richardson

    Disturbingly, the IPCC projections in the past have proven to be quite conservative. Although this report is a call to action, I can’t help but wonder if it’s too little, too late, as the consequences may be even more severe than they’ve described. Unfortunately, the current U.S. administration is actively working at odds with any effort to address the problem, and their many vocal supporters online continue advocate inaction, even on science blogs such as this one.

    • Popcorn Joe

      You have called it right,, exactly !!
      The latest UN report is far too conservative and things are a lot worse than they report.

      A prime example of that is their comments about dying coral reefs… It is far more serious than they say.

      • OWilson

        Makes one wonder just what the U.N. is covering up, and why?

        With only 15 years to save the planet, maybe we should find out? :)

        • Popcorn Joe

          Scientists usually tend to be very conservative as they don’t want to be accused of being Chicken Littles or not be exactly correct with predictions.

          • OWilson

            Got it!

            Still worth a march or two, one would think!

            Raise a little more awareness of our impending doom! :)

      • CB

        The IPCC is frequently too optimistic in its predictions! I think the idea of “taking action” in 12 years is nonsense, though. It’s not going to stop if we blow through that deadline… It’ll just keep getting worse… and worse… and worse… though 12 years is about the time at which Arctic sea ice disappears completely.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8dcf790b0f1107b89da8df114c191c8c9df3f4baa5d845d5d171b5e62510e37a.png

        • Popcorn Joe

          I agree CB… The North Pole’s polar ice cap is mostly gone, leaving thin, broken ice in the Arctic Ocean in the winter and it melts off fast in the spring.

        • Mike Richardson

          The IPCC is attempting to steer public policy by providing some hope while emphasizing the urgency of the situation. It may already be too late to prevent the collapse of civilization due to the stresses caused by climate change in the coming decades. However, if we do nothing and give up hope, it only becomes more and more likely.

          • Popcorn Joe

            We must never give up… We are fighting a losing battle however because it will require the combined efforts of most all of the world’s governments to have an effective fight to reverse what has happened to our atmosphere.

            We then look at what has happened with the many climate conferences where the only progress was a lot of talk, no real efforts to replace burning coal in electrical power plants with geo-thermal, solar and wind energy.

            Burning coal globally is the by far the greatest problem and unless we stop it now, we won’t have a chance to prevent runaway and irreversible global warming… The end result of that will be the 6th mass extinction… But as soon as the next mass extinction is said, it turns off 98% of everyone… We don’t want to hear it.

        • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgoJUOoWF-M 1-Bodhisattva

          Funny, that’s pretty much what some of you climate alarmists told us… 12 years ago!

  • OWilson

    Hey, it beats Al Gore’s (expired) 5 year plan! :)

    Sign me up Scotty!

    • Popcorn Joe

      How about you telling us exactly what Al Gore’s expired 5 year plan was instead of leaving us in the dark about it… Would you do that for us?

      • OWilson

        So many Doomsdays, Tipping Points, Raptures, Armageddons, Second Comings, Fossil Fuel Depletion, Population Bombs, Nuclear Winters, Judgement Days, China Syndrome, Holes in the Ozone, and Great Extinctions, from the usual suspects, it’s become a money raising cottage industry, and become hard to keep them straight! Yawn!

        Actually Gore’s plan was laid out in his 2006 documentary, that without “drastic action” in ten years we “would be past the point of no return”.

        Last time I looked it was 2018, and here we are! :)

        Oh, well, maybe next year! :)

        • Popcorn Joe

          You really failed to answer my fair question… If you prefer to ignore the question don’t bother replying… Cite a credible reference when Gore said that if you can, if you can’t just ignore it.

          • OWilson

            As I said, it’s hard to keep all the “dire predictions” straight, there are so many!

            I’ll give you the 5 years, if you give me the 10.

            Both expired anyway!

            Now with the latest 15 years from the U.N. a politician could make a name for herself by pointing this out, and saving the planet! Or not! :)

            “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste” – Romer

          • Popcorn Joe

            You claim Al Gore said, > (“Actually Al’s 5 year deadline referred to ““The entire North polar ice cap may well be completely gone in 5 years.” – 2008”)…. That is a lie, Al Gore never said that, but AGW deniers spread that lie.

            You wrote Al Gore said in 2006, > (“Unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return.”)… He may be correct with that one… We may have reached the point of no return with global warming but haven’t seen the results yet.

            The tropical coral reefs began bleaching out so severely in 2014 that they are permanently dying and at that continued rate of dying will mostly all be dead in another 5 to 6 years from continuing warming ocean water…. After that our atmospheric oxygen level will begin to drop and will finally reduce by at least half or more.

            That is because the green plant phytoplankton bloom in LIVE tropical coral reefs and those plants produce at least half of our oxygen and up to 85% of our oxygen according to scientists.

            That disaster happened around 251.9 million years ago and was the prime reason for the greatest mass extinction of life on Earth, according to studies of geological evidence by Dr. Michael J. Benton

            So Al Gore may very well be very correct about needing to do some drastic things to prevent runaway and irreversible global warming, but now it is too late to do them… We’ll see… ^..^ I do hope fat, rich Al is wrong on that one.

          • Popcorn Joe

            Hi OWilson… You claim Al Gore said, > (“The entire North polar ice cap may well be completely gone in 5 years.” – 2008”)…. That is a lie, Al Gore never said that, but AGW deniers spread that lie and you are repeating the lie.

            You wrote Al Gore said in 2006, > (“Unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return.”).

            Al Gore may be correct with that one… We may have reached the point of no return with global warming but haven’t seen the major results yet.

            The tropical coral reefs began bleaching out so severely in 2014 that they are permanently dying and at that continued rate of dying will mostly all be dead in another 5 to 6 years from continuing warming ocean water.

            After that our atmospheric oxygen level will begin to drop and will finally reduce by at least half or more in a short time.

            That is because the green plant specie of ocean phytoplankton bloom in LIVE tropical coral reefs and those plants produce at least half of our oxygen and up to 85% of our oxygen, according to scientists.

            That loss of oxygen disaster happened around 251.9 million years ago and was the prime reason for the greatest mass extinction of life on Earth, according to studies of geological evidence by Dr. Michael J. Benton.

            So Al Gore may very well be correct about needing to do some drastic things to prevent runaway and irreversible global warming, but now it is too late to do them.

            We’ll see… ^..^ I do hope fat, rich, democrat Al is wrong on that one.

          • OWilson

            Check out Gore’s lie:

            YouTube:

            “The entire North polar ice cap may well be completely gone in 5 years”.

            Now your done here!

            No time for liars!

            (Even for a good cause!)

            Lol

          • Popcorn Joe

            You say, > (“Check out Gore’s lie: YouTube:”).

            I have seen all of the You Tube talks by Al Gore and he never said what you claim he said.

            Then You say “I am done here”… Says who, you? LOL, you are the one posting lies, not me… Post the “You-Tube” where Al Gore said what you claim he said… You can’t do it because he never said what you claim he said… Take a hike.

          • OWilson

            YouTube

            v=dFmqtkeQy9c

            0,40 seconds!

            Have a nice day, y’all!

            Lol

          • Popcorn Joe

            Nuts !!

          • Mike Richardson

            What Al Gore did or did not say isn’t all that important. What matters to me is what scientists have said about the subject, and our resident contrarian continues to deliberately represent that and the dire impacts of climate change we are witnessing even now. Climate change deniers like Ol’Wilson pick arguments over tangential topics to distract from the big picture. We would do well to avoid playing their game.

          • Popcorn Joe

            I fully agree.

            The hired AGW deniers use their lying AL Gore stories to create doubt in the minds of the uneducated and they have done an excellent job of doing that… They are criminals.

          • OWilson

            Let the record show!

            Lol

          • Popcorn Joe

            Exactly,,, I agree with you there.

          • OWilson

            Here’s Al, himself in person, 2008

            “The entire polar ice cap may well be gone in 5 years”

            YouTube

            v=dFmqtkeQy9c

            at 0.40 (40 seconds in!)

            (Mikey is right, the Mob much more effective with name calling, than confronting reality!) :)

          • Mike Richardson

            Then you must be “the Mob,” as your last statement describes your constant trolling and name- calling to a tee. :)

          • OWilson

            You left out your usual “closet fascist”, “mental incompetent”, “wife duper” and some other things I won’t repeat here!

            This must be the Dr Jeckyl side of your passive-aggresive Jeckyl/Hyde split personality.

            But it’s a slight improvement, thank you! :)

          • Mike Richardson

            If you insist on bringing up my observations, then I may as well point out why you’ve given them credibility. When someone variously refers to a “wife,” ” girlfriend, “and other terms for a non-marital romantic partner in a short span of time it might be reasonable to wonder if the wife is aware of the situation. Likewise, I’m hardly the only person to express concern over your mental state, even in this thread, due to your irrational behavior.

            As for the last observation, I do apologize for referring to you as a “closet fascist.” It is quite clear, from your embrace of the most extreme far right talking points, and your unabashed support of increasingly authoritarian politicians on that side of the political spectrum, that you have proudly come out of the closet.

            It is funny, though, that you attempt to portray yourself as a victim here, and refer to me as having a Jekyll and Hyde personality. I know hypocrisy is one of your core values, but do you really want to talk about someone insulting others?
            One need only view the majority of comments in you Disqus profile to see that is a projection of your own behavior. It is only a small portion of “respectful” posts on some of the Discover blogs that don’t involve name-calling and political screeds. You should be judged by the overall content of your posts, which support everything I’ve concluded about you. 😉

          • Popcorn Joe

            It is quite obvious that you are crazy…

          • OWilson

            So easily we move from what Al Gore actually said, to the name calling and amateur psychology!

            Lol

          • Popcorn Joe

            Tell me how to open the “links” you posted for U Tubes that Al Gore said, according to you…. It is gibberish and you display that you are a nut case… That isn’t name calling, that is how it is.

          • Mike Richardson

            Yes, it isn’t name calling to note the obvious, and I particularly enjoyed his ironic statement that, “We are waaaay off topic, as usual, and that’s what trolls are all about.” For a change, he actually said something true ! Now if only he could do that more often, particularly on the topic of climate change.

          • OWilson

            Have a nice day Mikey.

            My best to your family! :)

          • Mike Richardson

            Same to you and your wife? girlfriend? significant other(s)? — with equal sincerity! 😉

          • OWilson

            Ok, not to prolong this farce, but in the interests of science, here’s what ya do.

            Open a browser.

            Search for Youtube.

            Enter the search term v=dFmqtkeQy9c and search.

            The first video that comes up shows Al delivering a speech in Germany in 2008.

            Scroll past the text to the 41 second mark. Play.

            There is Al speaking, “The entire polar ice cap may well be gone in 5 years”.

            Now, was that so hard? :)

          • Popcorn Joe

            I did exactly as you suggested and no it wasn’t hard… This is the result I recieved. > (“There are no results for v=dFmqtkeQy9c”).

            So just post the links for the Al Gore speeches whre he said the things you claim he said… You won’t do that because he never said the things you say he said.

            What you are posting are old lies that have been posted for years in attempts to discredit Al Gore… You are a professional hired liar or a dimwit who repeats those lies.

          • OWilson

            Try Google Chrome?

            Lol

          • OWilson

            URL links are not allowed here, but all the folks I know who use Chrome on different computers have no trouble at all, playing a simple Youtube video, showing Al actually saying:

            “The entire polar ice cap may well be gone in 5 years”

            But, It’s fun to see the true believers now desperately denying one of their own! :)

          • Popcorn Joe

            I have watched the video of Al Gore’s talk in 2008 and he did not say what you and other AGW deniers say he said…

            Anyone here who wished to watch that video can easily just ask Bing or Google for Al Gore’s video global climate talk in 2008 and see exactly what Gore said.

            Gore said if the Arctic Ocean’s (old thick ice) continued to melt as it had been melting, (it could) all be gone in another five years or by 2013 and by 2013 it was almost all gone.

            Gore did not say the Arctic Ocean would be ice free by 2013 or at any time… He said the thin winter ice would still be there every winter but it melts off fast in the summer… He was correct and you try to show Gore is an idiot, which he is not.

          • Popcorn Joe

            You prolonged the farce you made by lying about what Al Gore actually did say.

            I posted a LINK for AL Gore giving that talk in 2008 but the site has it PENDING so no one can see what Al Gore actually did say then with the link I posted..

            What Al Gore did was show on a large screen, satellite images of the Arctic Ocean’s old, thick, Perennial ice 28 years ago and how much had disappeared by 2008 and said at that rate of melt, > (The Perennial ice “could be” all gone in 5 years), or by 2013.

            Gore did NOT say it “would be” all gone in 5 yars… The AGW denier liars say Al Gore said that.

            I also posted a LINK for a NASA satellite video of the Arctic Ocean’s Perennial ice disappearing since 1990 and by 2013 it was almost all gone, leaving very little thich ice, so Gore was not wrong to say it “could be” all gone by 2013…

            it almost was all gone by 2013, not even 1% remained…. Any who wish to see what Al Gore actually did say can use Bing or Google and ask for, > Al Gore’s talk on global warming in 2008 and then ask for NASA satellite video of the Arctic Ocean’s perennial ice disappearing since 1990.

          • OWilson

            Try again:

            Open a browser (Chrome)

            Search for Youtube.

            In the Youtube site search box, enter the search term v=dFmqtkeQy9c and click search.

            The first video that comes up shows Al delivering a speech in Germany in 2008.

            Click play.

            Fast forward past the text to the 41 second mark. resume Play.

            There is Al speaking, “The entire polar ice cap may well be completely gone in 5 years”.

            Now, was that so hard? :)

          • Chi-Town Kim

            I agree with you as well as Popcorn Joe. What bothers me is when people like Ol’Wilson quote things that use words like “may well be”. That’s obviously subjective. A man/woman is entitled to their opinion but please don’t quote it as factual. Learn the art of rhetoric OW please.

          • Mike Richardson

            Unfortunately, he’s far more practiced at rhetoric (at least the hyperbolic partisan variety) than logic and facts.

          • Chi-Town Kim

            ✔ You are so very right.

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