Unprecedented action needed to curb global warming

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When the target was put into the Paris Agreement, relatively little was known about the climate risks that would be avoided in a 1.5C warmer world compared with a 2C warmer world, or about the action needed to limit temperature rises to that level.

The IPCC, the UN's top climate panel, issued the report from Incheon, Republic of Korea, where for the past week, hundreds of scientists and government representatives have been pouring over thousands of inputs to paint a picture of what could happen to the planet and its inhabitants with global warming of 1.5°C (or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

But for almost every component of the climate system, the SR15 report shows that limiting the warming to 1.5°C will make our life and our children's life easier when it comes to mitigation and adaptation.

Tweeting shortly after the report was launched UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that it is not impossible to limit global warming to 1.5°C, according to the report.

University of New South Wales climate scientist Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick says "virtually all" coral reefs would start dying off if global temperatures increased by 2C.

Limiting warming to 1.5C is possible but will require fast and far-reaching changes to power generation, industry, transport, buildings and potential shifts in lifestyle such as eating less meat.

To keep temperatures from rising to more than 1.5C in the long term, countries need to cut carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 and to net zero by 2050, with steep cuts in other greenhouse gases such as methane.

"Limiting global warming to 1.5 °C compared with 2 °C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals", said Priyardarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

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These carbon dioxide scrubbing techniques would be particularly vital if the global temperature were to briefly peak above 1.5°C before being wrestled back down below the target by the end of the century.

The 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.

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That could reduce flooding and give the people that inhabit the world's coasts, islands and river deltas time to adapt to climate change. When figures came out in the past few years noting that more than 500 million plastic straws were being used daily in the US and they were polluting the ocean, local government after local government quickly moved to ban plastic straws.

The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) declared it had "high confidence" in its predictions. Joyashree Roy, professor of economics at Jadavpur University and co-author of the IPCC report said: "We have found that the burden of global warming will fall disproportionately on the poor who are not responsible for the problem if we don't meet 1.5 degree target".

The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents the key findings of the Special Report, based on the assessment of the available scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to global warming of 1.5 °C.

Why limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees is crucial?

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