Summary of Global Warming of 1.5 °C

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Global Warming of 1.5 °C summary
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The window of opportunity for preventing catastrophic climate change is narrowing fast, warns a newly released special report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report lays out stark differences between a 1.5°C temperature increase, which the world may reach by as early as 2030, and the 2°C limit set under the Paris Climate Accord. The authors believe that reaching the more ambitious 1.5°C target is feasible but will require urgent and far-reaching measures at the international, national, and sub-national levels.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How a 1.5°C increase in global temperatures will affect ecosystems and human livelihoods, and
  • How the world can steer away from catastrophic climate change. 
 

About the Author

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the international body tasked with assessing the science relating to climate change.

 

Summary

Average global temperature increase as a result of human activities is currently at 1°C (1.8°F) and will hit 1.5°C sometime between 2030 and 2052. Anthropogenic emissions that are already in the atmosphere will continue to affect the climate for centuries, but these residues alone will not cause more than an additional 0.5 C temperature increase. Rising temperatures have already had an impact on ecosystems around the world but limiting warming to 1.5°C – as opposed to 2°C – will decisively reduce the risk of catastrophic consequences for humans and the environment. For example, sea level rise will be slower at 1.5°C of global warming than 2°C, giving ecosystems and coastal population centers more time to adapt. Furthermore, limiting warming to 1.5°C will slow down species loss and extinction on land and at sea. For example, between 10-30% of corals might survive at the lower temperature but would likely go extinct if the climate warmed 2°C. Limiting warming to 1.5°C would also mitigate risks to human health, food security and water supplies.  


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