A 1.5°C vs 2°C world-temp rise could mean fewer health, ecosystem effects, new report finds

There is a new report out from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The in-depth report’s title: Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty, leaves very little doubt as to what the report is about.

The corresponding Oct. 8, 2018 IPCC “Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C approved by governments” press release lays out report findings, perhaps the most important of which is: “Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment. 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, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Monday [Oct. 8, 2018].”

The significance of this document cannot be overstated. Global Warming of 1.5°C will be a critical source of scientific data for the Katowice Climate Change Conference this coming December in Poland, three years after the historic 21st Conference of the Parties climate change summit held in Paris, France. As to the reason behind the report’s creation, it stems from, first, agreement to the Paris Accord, and second, such action followed by response to a direct United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) invitation.

In elaborating, “As part of the decision to adopt the Paris Agreement, the IPCC was invited to produce, in 2018, a Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The IPCC accepted the invitation, adding that the Special Report would look at these issues in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.” At 700+ pages, this report is the first in a series.

The conference itself, incidentally, will be the center of considerable attention as, at the gathering, according to the IPCC in the release, governments will review the Paris Accord, all, of course, with the ultimate aim of combating world climate change.

Where the report is concerned, specifically, “‘With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC,’ said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC,” who provided commentary in the release.

Moreover, “The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2°C,” as the IPCC related in the release.

Further, “[t]he decisions we make today are critical in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future, said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

“‘This report gives policymakers and practitioners the information they need to make decisions that tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs. The next few years are probably the most important in our history,’ she said,” as cited in the IPCC press release in question.

To learn more, see the “Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C approved by governments” Oct. 8, 2018 press release here.

Image above: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

This post was last revised on Oct. 9, 2018 @ 3:56 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

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