The publication of the document Global Warming of 1,5 °C reveals a pessimistic outlook on the risks of global warming for the planet and human life. The 400-page draft by the United Nations (UN) points out that we need to limit Earth temperature’s rise to 1.5 °C, at best, compared to pre-Industrial Age. And that deadline is looming.
The document’s conclusion is that emissions of carbon dioxide resulting from human activity must drop 45% by 2030 and zero out by 2050, which will require “unprecedented and long outreach changes” in human behavior.
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What is global warming and how does it work?
Limiting global warming to 1.5 °C and keeping it from reaching 2 °C will have a profound impact on Earth. If the planet warms 2 °C or more, by 2100, global sea level rise will be 10 centimeters higher than at 1.5 °C. Preservation of coral reefs also relies on this: if the planet is 1.5 °C warmer, 70% to 90% of coral reefs will disappear; at 2 °C, they will be nearly extinct.
“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1 °C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai co-chair of one of the working groups at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), during the report release.
The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, said in his Twitter account that he feels confident about human actions to revert the scenario presented in the report. “But it will require unprecedented and collective climate action in all areas. There is no time to waste,” he said in the social media.
Paris Agreement and planetary consequences
In addition to evidences pointed out in the document, the UN high-ranking officials also sent a warning on global warming, especially regarding human life, and consequences that are already felt today.
“Climate change is having and will have devastating effects on a wide range of human rights, including rights to life, health, food, housing, and water, as well as the right to a healthy environment,” said David Boyd, UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, at the entity headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. ““The world is already witnessing the impacts of climate change — from hurricanes in America, heat waves in Europe, droughts in Africa to floods in Asia,” he concluded.
“Small island states, the Mediterranean region and also sub-Saharan Africa are already suffering and will suffer more in the future,” added Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva. “There will be 420 million people suffering less because of climate change if we would be able to limit the warming to 1.5 °C level. Certain areas in the world are extremely sensitive.”
The UN reiterates that fulfilling the goals laid down in the Paris Agreement is vital to safeguard the planet’s future. Adopted in December 2015 by 195 nations, the treaty’s focus is climate, and its main goal is to strengthen global response to the threat of climate change. In Geneva, Petteri Taalas admitted that “progress has not been good enough” and called for “extreme urgency” in the actions of the agreement signatories.
In 2017, the United States announced their withdrawal from the agreement, to be completed in 2020 – the only nation to quit it so far.
Content published in November 21, 2018