Global warming set to reach 1.5C in the near-term, UN reports

Hazards of global warming and permanent changes to the earth greater than previously estimated in 2014.

The top scientists in the world predicted that global temperature will “more likely than not” grow by 1.5C since pre-industrial times in the near future, and that current climate change will last for three generations, those born in 1950, 1970, and 2020.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s summary of the most recent climate science, which was written by hundreds of authors, revealed that the risks of global warming were higher than previously believed at the time of the last assessment in 2014. Several areas have already reached the point where they could no longer adapt.

A lack of political “commitment” was a major obstacle to development in what was a “rapidly closing window,” according to the study, which had the backing of governments from all across the world.

The IPCC report, according to UN secretary-general António Guterres, was a “survival guide for humanity” even though the “climate time-bomb” was currently ticking. “The 1.5C limit can be reached. A quantum jump in climate action will be necessary, nevertheless.

“Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once,” he added, asking wealthier nations to make major improvements to their net-zero emissions ambitions and push for a 2040 target date rather than a 2050 deadline.

The comprehensive report compiles six significant scientific evaluations released since 2018. It occurs before the UN COP28 climate meeting, which will include the ‘global stock take,’ takes place in the United Arab Emirates.
Last year, carbon emissions increased steadily, but past IPCC studies have shown that in order for the world to have any chance of keeping global warming to 1.5C, they must virtually double by 2030.

In an effort to bridge the gap between earlier warming timetables set at 2030 and 2050, the most recent report includes the year 2035 in its assessment.

The sequence of devastating extreme weather events in the past year is expected to continue, including floods, fires and droughts that the scientists said would become more frequent and intense with every fraction of a degree of warming.

Researchers and policymakers signed off the report after a week of discussions, including a frantic 24 hours of final nonstop negotiations as government representatives from fossil fuel-producing nations clashed on issues including finance, carbon capture technology and fossil fuel subsidies.

Detlef van Vuuren, a report author from the Netherlands, said the research showed “deep, rapid, fair, sustained and immediate action” was needed.

“This report is about urgency. It is crunch time for every one of us. We are so close to [reaching] 1.5C [that] things need to happen now,” he said.

Reiterating the findings of the 2021 IPCC report, the researchers said it was “unequivocal” that humans had caused global warming.

Temperatures had risen faster since 1970 than “in any other 50-year period over at least the last 2,000 years”. Global surface temperatures are now 1.1C higher than during the preindustrial era.

To limit warming to 1.5C, a key threshold committed to by governments in the Paris accord and at which irreversible “tipping points” occur in nature, greenhouse gas emissions would need to peak before 2025, the report said. By 2035, greenhouse gas emissions would need to fall by 60 per cent.

Yet governments’ national emissions reduction plans are already falling short and set the world on track for warming of about 2.8C by 2100.

While the report could be seen as “a final warning” on 1.5C, said Francis Johnson, a report author, this was “not a magic number . . . 1.6C is still better than 1.7C”.

The usage of coal, oil, and gas would need to be “much reduced” in order to achieve net zero emissions, yet public and private financial flows for fossil fuels were still higher than those for climate change, according to the researchers.

According to them, the estimated carbon emissions from fossil fuel infrastructure already in place that is not retrofitted with carbon capture technology will exceed the emissions cap for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Those familiar with the discussions claimed that Saudi Arabian representatives had pressed for the focus on carbon capture to reduce emissions. Nonetheless, the research issued a warning that there were “feasibility and sustainability risks” with such devices.

According to Lili Fuhr of the Center for International Environmental Law, the promotion of carbon capture technology at the summit is something “we’re fairly worried would be high on the agenda.” The need to phase out fossil fuels would be a “major battleground for COP28,” she added.

According to the report, several tropical, coastal, arctic, and alpine ecosystems had reached their “limits to adaptability”. Extremes of the climate were “increasingly driving displacement” and “maladaptation” in some areas.

The research, according to Australian report editor Mark Howden, demonstrated a “huge step-up” in confidence over the effects of climate change, particularly at various temperatures. For instance, research discovered that keeping warming to 2C would be more advantageous economically and socially than implementing mitigating measures.

It also focused more on sustainable development and economics, looking at the financial and social “cost of action versus the cost of inaction”

The scientists emphasized that “the choices and actions implemented in this decade will have repercussions today and for thousands of years” and that there were solutions available.

They include electric vehicles and renewable energy sources, as well as legislative modifications like increased carbon fees and the elimination of fossil fuel subsides.

Author of the paper Frank Jotzo claimed that mitigation measures had already prevented many gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

The report was approved in Interlaken and released as government officials gathered in Copenhagen on Monday to plan this year’s COP28. Danish climate minister Dan Jørgensen said the IPCC report, which will be a key topic of debate in Copenhagen, demonstrated “exactly how much of a global crisis we are in”.

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