Global Warming and climate change is an issue that has a bearing on all countries, continents, people and habitations in the world. How much temperature rise or warming can be called as dangerous – this has been the key question that has baffled millions of people, experts and novice. Just two degrees on Celsius scale can be catastrophic. One report on global warming and what it can bring has been dissected as:.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has prepared a special report on climate change on the request of 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In the 44th Session in 2016 held at Bangkok, the Panel approved the outline of Global Warming of 1.5 ºC. The report was aimed at strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. Prepared by renowned scientists and climate experts its findings say that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to drop by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.
One of the key findings of the report, based on the evaluation of the existing scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to global warming is that anthropogenic activities have been estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate. At 1.5°C the impacts and costs of global warming will be far greater than expected.
Past decade has seen a startling increase in storms, forest fires, droughts, coral bleaching, heat waves and floods around the world with just 1.0 degrees Celsius of global warming. But much of this will get significantly worse with 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit of warming, and far worse at 2 degrees Celsius. Climate-related risks for natural and human systems are higher for global warming of 1.5°C than at present, but lower than at 2°C. These risks depend on the magnitude and rate of warming, geographic location, levels of development and vulnerability, and on the choices and implementation of adaptation and mitigation options.
A high level of confidence is expressed in finding that ‘Sea level will continue to rise well
beyond 2100 and the magnitude and rate of this rise depends on future emission pathways. A slower rate of sea level rise enables greater opportunities for adaptation in the human and ecological systems of small islands, low-lying coastal areas and deltas. Marine ice sheet instability in Antarctica and/or irreversible loss of the Greenland ice sheet could result in multi-metre rise in sea level over hundreds to thousands of years. These instabilities could be triggered around 1.5°C to 2°C of global warming’.
A medium level of confidence was expressed in the fact that ‘Of 105,000 species studied, 6% of insects, 8% of plants and 4% of vertebrates are projected to lose over half of their climatically determined geographic range for global warming of 1.5°C, compared with 18% of insects, 16% of plants and 8% of vertebrates for global warming of 2°C’.
The report suggests that there is a high risk of adverse consequences of global warming of 1.5°C on human population. The most vulnerable populations include some indigenous peoples, and local communities dependent on agricultural or coastal livelihoods. Arctic ecosystems, dry land regions, small-island developing states. Least developed countries are at higher risk of getting adversely affected
At the global warming of 1.5°C climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are projected to increase, however the situation is expected to worsen further at 2°C.
As per the report poverty and negative effects on human health are projected to increase with a warming from 1.5°C to 2°C. While it’s essentially important to understand the risks associated with varying degrees of global warming, it’s equally important to know ways and means by which the emission trajectory would be kept on 1.5 degrees Celsius. There are several approaches that could be used to limit the warming at a 1.5 degree Celsius with limited overshoot. Some of the important means to reduce the emission level include reforestation, shift to electric transport systems and greater adoption of carbon capture technology. Coal power would have to decrease by about 60-80 percent from 2010 levels by 2030. Renewable energy would have to grow by 100-500 percent, to provide half of the total global electricity generation by 2030. Jim Skea, a co-chair of the working group on mitigation, states “We have presented governments with pretty hard choices. We have pointed out the enormous benefits of keeping to 1.5C, and also the unprecedented shift in energy systems and transport that would be needed to achieve that. ” He is optimistic about controlling the climate change – “It can be done within laws of physics and chemistry.” He adds “... final tick box is political will. We cannot answer that. Only our audience can – and that is the governments that receive it.”