The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Special Report on limiting the impacts of Global Warming to 1.5°C has been approved. The main message is that when compared to the impacts of a 2°C temperature increase, limiting warming to 1.5°C (we are already at 1°C) would significantly reduce the risk of severe and extreme weather events, particularly heatwaves and heat-related mortality.
Every fraction of a degree of warming matters.
The UN’s climate change report shows every fraction of a degree matters but world governments now have the chance to deliver a safer future.
Based on more than 6,000 scientific studies, the report was compiled by more than 80 of the world’s top climate scientists from nearly 40 countries, and calibrates 40,000 peer-review comments.
Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief who led the historic Paris agreement of 2015, said: “There is nothing opaque about this new data. The illustrations of mounting impacts, the fast-approaching and irreversible tipping points are visceral versions of a future that no policy-maker could wish to usher in or be responsible for.”
"And I encourage all of those individuals who have the privilege and democratic right to vote, to understand the evidence presented by the IPCC today, to act in their personal lives and to vote responsibly. We have a safer, more prosperous future to win"
What difference would restricting warming to 1.5°C make?
To visualise these changes, have a look at this great infographic showing the difference between global warming of 1.5°C vs. 2°C. It covers a wide range of impacts across a range of key metrics (nature, ocean, rainfall, sea ice etc): https://interactive.carbonbrief.org/impacts-climate-change-one-point-five-degrees-two-degrees/
A great article from the BBC "Five things we have learned from the IPCC report" outlines five key takeaways from the IPCC report:
Many people might think that they have little personal involvement with any of these. There are ways you can act to reduce your carbon demand and emissions. One highly effective step they suggest is cutting energy demand by using less. Similarly being aware of what you eat, where it comes from, thinking about how you travel, having a greater interest in all these things can impact energy use.
The report has urged Political leaders to act on the landmark special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has warned that strong efforts would be required to prevent disastrous consequences from dangerous levels of climate change. Lets hope our leaders act.
The full IPCC report and summary can be found here: www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/
- Steph XO