8 Oct 2018 - Greenhouse gas emissions must be cut almost in half by 2030 to avert global environmental catastrophe, including the total loss of every coral reef, the disappearance of Arctic ice and the destruction of island communities, a landmark UN report has concluded.
Drawing on more than 6,000 scientific studies and compiled over two years, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) findings, released this morning, warn enormous and rapid changes to the way everyone on Earth eats, travels and produces energy need to be brought in immediately.
Though the scientists behind the report said there is cause for optimism, they recognised the grim reality that nations are currently nowhere near on track to avert disaster.
The worst effects of global warming will only be prevented if the global temperature increase stays below 1.5C, a figure the scientists think will be exceeded within around 20 years.
Under current climate commitments by world leaders, the Earth will be 3C warmer by the end of the century.
“Limiting warming to 1.5C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics, but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Professor Jim Skea of Imperial College London, who contributed to the report.
Another contributor, Professor Myles Allen from the University of Oxford, added: “If emissions rise above the current level then warming will accelerate, so we might even get to 1.5C earlier than this.”
The world has already passed 1C of warming since 19th-century industrialisation began spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and many regions are already suffering the effects as heatwaves, droughts and floods become more intense and frequent.
READ THE IPCC REPORT: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/