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.

    • OWilson

      In “End of Times” predictions, there is ALWAYS lots of time allowed to collect the “worldly goods”! :)

  • 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! :)

  • 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.

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