The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report (http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg2/) warns the world that urgent action is necessary to prevent dramatic consequences of climate change by 2030. The research presented in the report is focused on the climate impacts at 1.5°C versus 2°C. Thus, there is the logical question: Does half a degree really matter that much?
According to the leading climate scientists, the move from 1.5°C to 2°C will create “long lasting and irreversible changes, such as the loss of the Greenland ice sheet or warm water coral reefs.” Currently, the planet is experiencing the level of 1°C warming but climate change is occurring more rapidly than expected. At the current rate of emissions, the earth will likely reach the 1.5°C warming threshold in as soon as 12 years. Moreover, the IPCC report states that “climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5°C and increase further with 2°C.” Still, the most important takeaway from the report is that we will need to cut earth’s greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 in order to protect nature, species and people from catastrophic consequences of climate change.
However, the report casts a hope that there is a way out and the changes we need to make to curb climate change are doable. It also stresses that sustainable development, poverty eradication and reduction of inequalities are the factors that make the report’s positive outcomes possible. The efforts to fight climate change need to be integrated with the efforts to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities, and achieve sustainable development so that restricting warming to 1.5°C would be attained.
Despite the warning language included in the report, there is still a chance to escape the worst possible scenario and save the planet from natural disasters by entrenching sustainable development into each cell of society.
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