Global Warming Report

IPCC: 1.5° will be bad and 2.0° will be worse, radical change needed NOW

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Major report finds that global climate outlook is far worse than previously thought; calls for immediate and sweeping change to prevent catastrophe

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by Ian Angus

Global Warming of 1.5°C, a major new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),  was released in Korea on October 8. Although it is nearly 800 pages long and includes more than 6,000 scientific references, it can be summarized in five sentences:

  1. The average global temperature is now 1.0°C above pre-industrial levels.
  2. That increase is already causing more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, and is damaging many land and sea ecosystems.
  3. A 1.5°C increase, likely by 2040, will make things worse.
  4. A 2.0°C increase will be far worse than that.
  5. Only radical economic change can stop catastrophe.

C&C will have more to say about this report in future. For now, here’s a sampling of comment from scientific journals and the mainstream media, which is reporting the climate story more accurately than usual. Based on experience to date, politicians and their capitalist paymasters will not respond appropriately unless we mobilize and force them to act.


Key climate panel, citing impending crisis, urges crash effort to reduce emissions

“Allowing the planet to warm by more 1.5 degrees Celsius could have dire consequences. … We have to alter course immediately; no longer can we say the window for action will close soon ‑‑ we’re here now.”

IPCC says limiting global warming to 1.5 °C will require drastic action

“Limiting global warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels would be a herculean task, involving rapid, dramatic changes in the way that governments, industries and societies function.”

Science Daily
Rapid response needed to limit global warming

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society … With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society”

Science News
Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees versus 2 has big benefits, the IPCC says

 “Half a degree can make a world of difference. If Earth warms by just 1.5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial times by 2100, rather than 2 degrees, we would see fewer life-threatening heat, drought and precipitation extremes, less sea level rise and fewer species lost.”


Planet has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn

“Global net emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach ‘net zero’ around 2050 in order to keep the warming around 1.5 degrees C.”

We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN

 “The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.”

Globe and Mail
UN report on global warming carries life-or-death warning

“Limiting warming to 0.9 degrees from now means the world can keep ‘a semblance’ of the ecosystems we have. Adding another 0.9 degrees on top of that – the looser global goal – essentially means a different and more challenging Earth for people and species”

Washington Post
The world has just over a decade to get climate change under control, U.N. scientists say

To avoid racing past warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over preindustrial levels would require a ‘rapid and far-reaching’ transformation of human civilization at a magnitude that has never happened before.”

New York Times
Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040

“Avoiding the most serious damage requires transforming the world economy within just a few years, said the authors, who estimate that the damage would come at a cost of $54 trillion.”

Wall Street Journal
U.N. Panel Warns Drastic Action Needed to Stave Off Climate Change

 “Rapid, far-reaching changes to almost every facet of society are needed to avoid catastrophic climate change, reforms far beyond anything governments are currently either doing or planning to do.”

Climate Crisis Spurs UN Call for $2.4 Trillion Fossil Fuel Shift

“The world must invest $2.4 trillion in clean energy every year through 2035 and cut the use of coal-fired power to almost nothing by 2050 to avoid catastrophic damage from climate change, according to scientists convened by the United Nations.”


  • I appreciate the comments about capitalist tech solutions being inadequate; it is important to note that what is most crucial to nationalize is intellectual property. Companies like General Electric and Westinghouse have bought green patents and buried them, and it would be desirable to make all that information available to anyone who wants to develop green tech freely. While nationalizing big energy companies is important for purposes of ending use of carbon energy, socializing intellectual property allows for positive development of alternatives that will mitigate consequences like unemployment.

  • The best, and really the only way to effect a radical reduction of reliance on carbon-based energy systems is to nationalize the Big Oil and Gas and invest their trillions in green energy tech — and the only way to do that in a reasonable time is by a democratically planned economy resulting from a socialist transformation of society.

  • David, I can speak for others but some weeks ago I proposed to the DSA (which I joined this year) that the DSA ought to hold a press conf announcing a campaign calling fo nationalization of the fossil fuel industries (via buyouts) to phase them out. I’m hardly the first to call for nationalization. A woman whose name scapes me at the moment called for much the same recently in atheaNextSystemProject. Oil change international has called for a “managed phaseout” of fossil fuels.

    But of course all these mean closures, actual shutdowns, they mean people will have to actually have to Stop using fossil fuels. Which means bankruptcies an mass layoffs in some of the biggest companies on the planet. That of course is beyond the pale of thinkable thought. So what I think the IPCC is calling for is higher priced carbon taxes. But of course if the taxes are actually high enough to suppress consumption then tha amounts to the same thing -+ closures and layoffs. Exxon supports carbon taxes not because it wants to break those companies but because it aims to see to it that those taxes do not break companies but break the planet instead.

    What we need to do is just what you said: get our proposals out into the public debate.

  • There are vague calls for “near revolutionary change” but generally the “fixes” mentioned in all these articles are “technological innovation” and changing personal consumption habits. The “innovations” tend to include unproven carbon capture techniques but the mostly unspoken assumptions include nuclear energy and geoengineering.

    It is a crucial moment for ecosocialists to have some developed scenarios and counter-proposals. How to insert them in the discourse is another question.