Major report finds that global climate outlook is far worse than previously thought; calls for immediate and sweeping change to prevent catastrophe
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:
- The average global temperature is now 1.0°C above pre-industrial levels.
- That increase is already causing more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, and is damaging many land and sea ecosystems.
- A 1.5°C increase, likely by 2040, will make things worse.
- A 2.0°C increase will be far worse than that.
- 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.
“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.”
“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.”
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”
“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.”
“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.”
“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”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”