Grab the Chance For a 1.5 Future

12 December 2018

Today ECO returns to the highly motivating, yet alarming findings of the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C: to limit global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society €“ and in doing so we can bring clear benefits to people and ecosystems.

According to the Report, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C would reduce impacts on ecosystems, human health and well- being, making it easier to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society. In contrast, exceeding 1.5°C means grave risks for people and vulnerable systems around the globe.

The Report also highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C or more. For instance, by 2100, global coral reefs, and rapidly escalating risk sea-level rise would be 10 cm lower. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century compared with at least once per decade. As ECO explained yesterday coral reefs would decline by 70€“90% with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (>99%) would be lost with 2°C.

As the Report clearly highlights, we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather and rising sea levels, among other changes.

At the current rate of warming, the world is likely to reach 1.5°C warming between 2030 and 2052.
The Report shows that the wide- ranging impacts of climate change will be much worse at 2 ÌŠC of warming than at 1.5 ÌŠC. Beyond 1.5 ÌŠC climate change impacts would be far- reaching and severe €“ from the loss of Arctic sea ice to the demise of tropical of climate extremes.

The IPCC confirms that it is feasible to hold warming to 1.5 ÌŠC, or very close to it, throughout the 21st Century, but that there is no time for complacency.

It also confirms that the current nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement fall far short of what is needed. Carbon dioxide emissions must be nearly halved in the next ten years, and reach net-zero by 2050.

The advantages of early action are made stark in this Report, especially regarding the sustainable development benefits, including poverty alleviation, health and access to clean energy. It is clear that governments must commit to much stronger 2030 targets under the Paris Agreement (and ditch coal). These new targets need to be submitted by all governments no later than 2020.

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