United Nations report warns of possible climate disaster by 2040

United Nations report warns of possible climate disaster by 2040

Climate Change Conference, scheduled for December in Katowice, Poland, which marks the deadline for nations implementing the 2015 Paris agreement.

One of the lead authors, Murdoch University climate scientist Jatin Kala, said even if global warming was kept to 1.5C there could still be "dire consequences" for WA's South West, such as altered growing seasons in the Wheatbelt and wine regions such as the Swan Valley.

Temperatures are now on track to rise 3 degrees Celsius by 2100.

At the Paris Agreement in 2015‚ 2ºC was set as the ceiling we should aim to stay under‚ but that has now been changed to 1.5ºC.

"We welcome the conclusions of this historic report, one that should give the global community not just a wake-up call, but also hope that we can avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change", said Bill Hare, Climate Analytics CEO.

The special report from the IPCC is pretty sobering, saying if our greenhouse gas emissions continue as they are the world will warm by 1.5 degrees by 2040 and 2 degrees by 2060. "We must reduce emissions as quickly as possible to keep 1.5 deg C of warming within reach", said Mr Andrew Steer, president and chief executive of the Washington-based World Resources Institute.

Starting in 1994, a central aim of the UN's climate change efforts (the Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC) was to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would "prevent risky anthropogenic interference with the climate system".

The report, which was authored by 91 scientists and review editors from 40 countries, cites over 6,000 scientific references, and represents the work of thousands of experts and government employees.

Sea level rises would be 10cm lower with a 1.5C temperature rise compared to 2C by 2100, while there would be worse impacts on coral reefs and the Arctic at higher temperatures.

Under pressure from island nations at risk from sea-level rise, the United Nations agreed during the Paris negotiations to ask the IPCC to investigate the impact of 1.5 degrees of global warming.

The Special Report on Global Warming 1.5C, known as SR15, was produced by the Intergovernmental Panel in Climate Change report, a United Nations consortium of researchers studying the speed and scope of temperature rise caused by humans.

In 2010, global negotiators adopted a goal of limiting warming to 2 C since pre-industrial times.

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The IPCC report was released just as this year's Nobel Prize for Economics was awarded to two professors studying the economic impact of climate change.

Following the United Nations report, Steve Waygood, from Aviva Investors, said it was estimated that, without action, climate change would cost the global economy 43 trillion USA dollars (£33 trillion) in today's prices.

The basic gist is hardly surprising-the impacts of 1.5°C warming are slightly less than 2.0°C, and it's harder to cut greenhouse gas emissions fast enough to meet the lower target.

Pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems.

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

These effects include extreme heatwaves, severe droughts, the death of coral reefs, mass extinctions, sea-level rise, and more.

Smaller nations have asked for equity in Carbon dioxide emission cuts to curb global warming, a time frame and funding from developed nations for climate change mitigation.

Most worryingly, the IPCC's report claims that this 1.5°C increase could be reached in as little as 11 years, and nearly certainly within 20 years.

A direct result of the 2015 Paris Agreement, this latest report has been three whole years in the making, and points to "laws of chemistry and physics" which make a final shift (or rather, semi-permanent halt) in climate change a possibility.

The IPCC report doesn't list country-wise impacts.

The Greens recently tabled a motion at City Hall that the council should consider preparing a climate change adaption strategy.

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