Monday, October 15, 2018

IPCC Study Offers Another Dose of Climate Reality

New research reaffirms that we are teetering on the cusp of a man-made climate calamity. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warns that governments must take urgent action to avoid "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society". The effects of catastrophic warming includes cataclysmic flooding from sea level rise, more extreme weather, wildfires and food shortages.

The report warns that by 2030 we will will breech the upper threshold limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius, a level of warming deemed catastrophic  The world is already two thirds of the way there having warmed by 1 degree C since preindustrial norms and the Arctic has already warmed by 1.5 C.

Present day reality

As quoted by CNN, Panmao Zhai, co-chair of IPCC Working Group I, climate change is not some future reality it is with us today and left unchecked it will get far worse. "One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1 degree C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes," Zhai said.

We are destroying the earth's natural systems. This is evident from hotter temperatures, rising sea levels, extreme weather, melting ice, collapsing fisheries, water scarcity, expanding deserts, forest fires, dying coral reefs and species extinctions. The situation is perilous and it will only get worse unless we radically reduce emission in the short-term. 

Urgent emissions reduction

Carbon dioxide emissions are the main culprit in anthropogenic climate change, to stave off the worst impacts of global warming we will need to reduce emissions by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.

We will need to radically lower the footprints of industry, buildings and cities. We will need to fully embrace renewable forms of energy, radical efficiency and electric transportation.  Upon release of the report  former US Vice President Al Gore said: "Today the world's leading scientific experts collectively reinforced what mother nature has made clear -- that we need to undergo an urgent and rapid transformation to a global clean energy economy."

If we are to succeed in substantially reducing emissions we will need to radically alter our energy mix focusing on eliminating the use of fossil fuels in both energy production and transportation.  A number of studies have come to the same conclusions, we need to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels and massively ramp-up our production of renewable energy.

International cooperation 

"International cooperation is absolutely imperative to limit emissions and therefore global warming and its impacts, as well as coordinating effective and widespread adaptation and mitigation," said Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, a fellow at the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales. "The next few years will be critical in the evolution of these efforts." 

Even if we were prepared to make a consorted international effort we would still need to invest in adaptation strategies. Limiting global warming to 1.5 degree C is "possible within the laws of chemistry and physics," said Jim Skea, co-chair of IPCC Working Group III. "But doing so would require unprecedented changes.".

"International cooperation is absolutely imperative to limit emissions and therefore global warming and its impacts, as well as coordinating effective and widespread adaptation and mitigation," said Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, a fellow at the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales. "The next few years will be critical in the evolution of these efforts." 

Sound Science

The IPCC is the global scientific authority on climate change and the science they produce is construed as valid by all but the uninformed and the politically motivated.

“It’s the biggest peer-review exercise there is,” said Jonathan Lynn, head of communications for the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “It involves hundreds or even thousands of people looking at it.”

The Trump administration and Republican lawmakers are opposed to science especially climate science. They cast aspersions on the facts to pander to the fossil fuel industry which is their most important source of financial support.

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