IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees C

13 October 2018

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published its Special Report on the Impact of Global Warming of 1.5 degrees C. Its press release can be viewed here, and aficianados of climate change literature can read a 34 page summary here.

The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2ºC.

The report emphasises that 'every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5ºC or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems.' It also makes clear that is that 'we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes.'

In order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, the report states that human caused CO2 emissions must be reduced by 45% from 2010 levels, by 2030. This needs to be followed by net zero emissions globally by 2050 (i.e. any emissions are balanced by other actions which draw carbon from the air).

It is all sobering stuff, but it is important to continue to believe that we can make a difference personally in the choices we make, by lobbying and campaigning and by making the argument for action on climate change whenever the opportunity presents itself; in the pub, workplace, wherever.

For starters, here are two petitions which we can support: firstly from 350.org, secondly from Greenpeace.

Keep an eye on future editions of the newsletter, for further news.