Avoiding climate chaos means 'unprecedented' change

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Avoiding climate chaos means 'unprecedented' change

"Several regional changes in climate are assessed to occur with global warming up to 1.5 degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, including warming of extreme temperatures in many regions (high confidence), increases in frequency, intensity, and/or amount of heavy precipitation in several regions (high confidence), and an increase in intensity or frequency of droughts in some regions (medium confidence)".

The report makes it clear that climate change is already happening - and what comes next could be even worse, unless urgent worldwide political action is taken.

Coal consumption by Indian thermal generators needs to be cut by two thirds within 2030 and to nearly zero by 2050 if India has to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees said Greenpeace India in a statement.

The authors said global warming is likely to reach 1.5 deg C as early as 2030 if it continues to increase at the current rate.

An worldwide body of almost 100 climate scientists convened by the United Nations have issued a stern warning to the rest of the world.

"We can make choices about which options and trade off a bit between them, but the idea you can leave anything out is not possible".

But they asked the IPCC to complete a report on the feasibility to limiting hikes following a request from small island nations.

Deep in the report, scientists say less than 2 percent of 529 of their calculated possible future scenarios kept warming below the 1.5 goal without the temperature going above that and somehow coming back down in the future. This means any remaining emissions would need to be removed by planting forests, or using carbon capture and storage technology, where emissions from power plants and industry are captured and stored deep underground. But U.S. states led by California and many cities are living up to their commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions, WMO's Taalas said.

Methods to take excess carbon out of the atmosphere will also be needed.

Scientists have been sounding the alarm on climate change for decades, yet global emissions are expected to rise again in 2018. To have at least a 50/50 chance of staying under the 1.5C cap without overshooting the mark, the world must, by 2050, become "carbon neutral", according to the report.

"It's telling us we need to reverse emissions trends and turn the world economy on a dime", Myles Allen, an Oxford University climate scientist and an author of the report, told The New York Times. The longer we wait to act, the IPCC report says, the more we'll have to use this type of technology, which has never been proven at a large scale. To hit and keep that 1.5 degrees target, net anthropogenic Carbon dioxide emissions must come down 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero around 2050.

The report points out that the risk transition from 1.5°C to 2°C is very high and the impact of a 2°C rise will be more devastating than what IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report had indicated.

Coral reefs would decline by 70 per cent to 90 per cent at 1.5 deg C, whereas virtually all would be lost at 2 deg C. The problem with even a slight shift in goals is that the scientific work done in advance of the worldwide talks hadn't provided results for a 1.5°C scenario.

"The next few years are probably the most important in our history", Debra Roberts, co-chair of the IPCC Working Group II, said in a statement marking the report's release.

"India recognises climate change to be a real threat and we will do whatever we can in our own capacity", Ministry of Environment's Additional Secretary AK Mehta told the Hindustan Times. Looking at a set of United Nations sustainable development goals, while there are certainly some trade-offs, most actions to limit global warming and its impacts would make life better in multiple ways.

The report compares the impacts of warming at 1.5°C against 2°C across the planet - from ecosystems on land and in oceans to the health and well being of people - and finds universal benefits in the lower target, such as 0.1 meter less sea level rise that could mean 10 million less people were exposed to related risks. "Consequently, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is projected to reduce risks to marine biodiversity, fisheries, and ecosystems, and their functions and services to humans, as illustrated by recent changes to Arctic sea ice and warm water coral reef ecosystems".

Annual investment of more than €2trn is needed. But Monday's report comes amid a reactionary political climate. By 2050, emissions will need to be reduced by 100 percent.

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