New United Nations report details looming climate crisis

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Countries in the southern hemisphere would see the most drastic effects.

According to the authors of the study, limiting the rise in temperature to 1.5 °C, rather than 2°C is vital if humanity hopes to mitigate some of the most devastating effects of climate change.

And even though it's up to the governments to reach the IPCC's emission goals, we can all be more conscious about our own waste.

Climate change is a global challenge demanding global solutions.

In a report released late Sunday, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the global community still has a chance of limiting the average increase in temperatures to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, a goal sanctioned by the Paris climate agreement three years ago.

The 2015 Paris Accord (which no major industrialised country is now on track to meet) set out to prevent more than 2 degrees Celsius warming from preindustrial times. In fact, the IPCC report says that we are ultimately heading towards 3 degrees Celsius. "And there are tremendous benefits in limiting it to 1.5 degrees Celsius in terms of eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development". "If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences...." By 2050, emissions will need to be reduced by 100 percent.

Doing that would require an immediate, massive, coordinated transformation of the global economic system - especially the energy system. 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. At 1.5°C, sea levels will still rise, but they'll be 10cm lower than they will if we reach 2°C, which could just mean the difference between survival and annihilation for some island nations and coastal areas. But that number is an average of temperatures all over the globe, so some places will become significantly hotter. These factors could trigger huge migrations of people and mass extinctions of animals. But if warming stops at 2 degrees, more than 99% of reefs could disappear.

"The announcements and proposals made by the new administration have not been finalized, they are not based on science and the law and that is not exactly a winning formula when you go to the courts", she said.

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Global Warming of 1.5 °C is the first in a series of Special Reports to be produced in the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Cycle. Collapse of coral reefs would be essentially ensured. At 2 degrees, that will be more like once per decade.

"The next few years are probably the most important in human history", Debra Roberts, head of the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department in Durban, South Africa, and an IPCC co-chair, told AFP news agency.

This story originally appeared in the New York Post. And for the millions of people who live in nations that are particularly vulnerable to warmer temperatures, significant societal disruption and migration are likely. About as you'd expect: by referring to strategies to reduce emissions as "all that nonsense", and dismissing the UN's comprehensive evidence and warning as "some sort of report".

There are financial estimates of the damage, too. "We discussed, for instance, how much land would need to be diverted from agriculture to forestry (for creating carbon stocks) for capturing carbon, or growing biofuel", the person told The Hindu.

"We have not identified any pathways that get to 1.5 degrees Celsius without some kind of carbon dioxide removal", Skea said.

Industries and investors need to be bold and far-sighted, for example by cutting all links to fossil fuels and supporting a carbon price. But right now, they aren't cost-effective or efficient enough.

So far, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that he's "not going to spend money on global climate conferences and all that nonsense", while Deputy PM Michael McCormack described the landmark United Nations warning as "some sort of report" and said Australia will "absolutely" keep relying on coal-fired power.

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