Climate crisis: Future of Peterborough and the world hangs in the balance

Climate crisis: Future of Peterborough and the world hangs in the balance
Heres the difference in impact that 1.5 and 2 C of global warming will have on the planet
As the UN`s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently reported, just half a degree more in global temperatures rising since pre-industrial times could mean the difference between life and death for a large portion of the planet.

In 2015, nations agreed to limit warming to 2 C as part of the Paris Agreement, which many consider the upper threshold before irreversible and catastrophic damage is done to the planet. A more ambitious, but non-binding goal, of 1.5 C was set as well, at the urging of more vulnerable countries that called 2 C warming a death sentence.

First, the way it was assembled. Although the report presents no new science of its own, its survey of more than 6,000 studies is meticulous. With every passing year scientists amass more data about how the climate has already changed. And, as many people battered in Florida this week by Hurricane Michael will attest, it is changing faster than anyone foresaw even two decades ago. This new knowledge, together with improved understanding of the complex climate system, makes projections like those the IPCC has compiled more compelling. Uncertainties remain; individual research contained within the report may yet be challenged. But in study after study, page after page, fact after fact, the evidence for anthropogenic climate change, long clear, is harder than ever to ignore.

Climate scientist says UN climate claims are nonsense, coral reefs are not in danger

At 1.5 C warming, the world can keep “a semblance” of the ecosystems we have now, according to IPCC.

According to IPCC’s report, with 2 C warming since pre-industrial times, sea levels would rise 0.1 metres more, there would be more heat waves, droughts and downpours, and will run the risk of the West Antarctic ice sheet irreversibly melting.

Hitting either target would entail transforming economies at a breakneck pace. To achieve 1.5°C, the world would by 2050 need to eliminate all 42bn tonnes of carbon-dioxide in annual emissions. Renewables, including hydropower, would have at least to treble their share of electricity generation from todays 25%. Internal-combustion engines, which power 499 out of 500 cars on the road today, would have to all but vanish. Progress is being made. The number of electric cars on the road is rising fast; green finance is gathering momentum; zero-carbon technologies are being developed. But the scale of the effort required is unprecedented.

As well, there is a chance to save the coral reefs with 1.5 C warming, as opposed to no chance at 2 C, according to the report.

We have in Australia the abundant resources required to produce clean hydrogen for the global market at a competitive price, on either of the two viable pathways: splitting water using solar and wind electricity, or deriving hydrogen from natural gas and coal in combination with carbon capture and sequestration.

Half a degree more may sound small, but the number is an average of temperatures around the globe, meaning some places will become significantly hotter. The Arctic, for example, is likely to be several degrees warmer, increasing the amount of ice that will melt and how high sea levels will rise.

The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members.

As well, around the Mediterranean, freshwater availability will drop almost twice as much at 2 C compared to 1.5 C warming — down 17 per cent versus nine per cent, according to the report.

End of the world as we know it

The report also shows that extreme heat would be much more common, with 37 per cent of the world population exposed to extreme heat at 2 C rather than 14 per cent at 1.5 C, with the tropics experiencing the biggest increase in “highly unusual” hot days.

Sea levels would be at least 10 centimetres higher by the end of the century at 2 C warming than they would at 1.5 C, causing mass migration from areas that may be flooded, warns the UN report.

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Unfortunately, humans are well on track to passing 2 C and to limit warming to 1.5 C would require immediate, draconian cuts to emissions, which the UN sees little chance of happening.

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Even worse, if we remain at our current levels of emissions, we are on a path to warming 4 C above pre-industrial levels by 2100, which if reached would trigger a chain of cataclysmic changes that include extreme heatwaves, declining global food stocks, substantial species extinctions and sea-level rising that would affect hundreds of millions of people, according to the report.

The latest report on global warming makes grim reading

A climate scientist said Australias coral reefs are not in danger in the wake of a UN report on climate change that he says is helping to overturn industrial civilisation.

To simplify the last paragraph, heres the context; Under the Paris Agreement signed by most countries of the world in 2015 it was agreed that the warming up of global temperatures would be restricted to 2°C by the year 2100. To simplify further, the recent global wave of extreme climate, including the punishing recent heatwaves that have killed hundreds if not thousands in Karachi, have been a result of a 1°C rise since preindustrial times. What the UN report says is that climate change will be exponential, which essentially means that if theres a rise of 1°C, that will intensify global warming further and the effects of climate change will get severer as the climate warms, leading to a position where at the previous best-case scenario of 2°C, the world will experience catastrophic, irreversible change. Also, all this will happen in the next few decades, much before the stipulated deadline of 2100 as set in Paris. Also, if that wasnt enough, the report claims that the catastrophic changes will begin to be experienced as soon as 2030. Thats 12 years from now.

An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released earlier this week forecast doom if coal-fired power is not ended within 32 years, worldwide.

Of course, theres still much that can be done to contain global warming, but that statement shouldnt give us any relief, considering it is only containment. The report suggests that climate change has already had effects which are irreversible and drastic measures are required to contain increases in the existing intensity of these changes. The report also talks about what can be done to stifle global warming, but theres little point in talking about what can be done. The first thing to do, before deciding on things to do to contain climate change, is to acknowledge it, which is inexplicably rare, considering right-wing, populist politics is leading the fight against the acknowledgement of climate change in the first place and that the biggest economy in the world has already left the Paris Agreement under Trump.

It predicted up to 90 per cent of coral reefs would be lost if the earth warmed by 1.5 degrees Celcius by 2100, prompting fears for Australias Great Barrier Reef.

The latest IPCC report said coral such as Australias Great Barrier Reef (pictured) would vanish unless the world phases out coal power 32 years. Professor Lindzen says this is nonsense