UN Report on Global Warming calls for rapid 'unprecedented' changes globally to limit planetary warming to 1.5 degree C

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations organization, released its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC (SR15) on Monday, during its 48th session held in Incheon, South Korea. In this report, the panel called for rapid "unprecedented" changes globally to limit planetary warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) above pre-industrial levels, saying failure to do so would result in increased sea level rise and higher frequency of extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, and heatwaves.

Emblem of the United Nations.
Image: Spiff.

The report examined the possibility of limiting global warming to a maximum of 1.5ºC, as sought in the Paris Agreement — a landmark agreement in which global leaders united to combat climate change — as well as the consequences of failure to do so. The final report was produced by a team of 91 scientists from 40 countries and based on assessments of 6,000 available scientific studies.

The New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment said the impact of 1.5°C warming presented in the report is plainly larger than expected. The most vulnerable countries were coastal or economically agriculture-dependent, such as India, where poverty reportedly could increase as crop yields decline and unprecedented climate extremes would take place. One of the working groups' co-chairs, Debra Roberts, called the report the "largest clarion bell from the science community". The report indicated that without an increase in current climate change initiatives, by 2030 with 1.5°C, coral reefs would decline by 70–90% and be substantially lost — over 99% — at 2ºC. According to the report, the mitigation projects already taking place globally would need to be taken to an unprecedented scale.