December 13, 2018

Takeaways from the UN’s Startling Climate Report

“The new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, is out. Its prognosis for the planet is grim: We may have as little as 12 years to act on climate change — to slash global emissions 45 percent — to reach this target.

The report was commissioned by the United Nations to see what would happen if global average temperatures rose by 1.5°C above preindustrial levels, and what it would take to cap warming at that level. Under the Paris climate agreement, nations agreed in 2015 that they would take actions to limit global warming to 2°C while striving for the even tougher target of 1.5°C.

The new report is meant to build on that agreement, and it is exhaustive, with 132 authors, drawing on more than 6,000 peer-reviewed research articles. The overarching conclusion is that every fraction of a degree of warming matters. Letting temperatures rise will exact a huge toll on lives, natural systems, and the economy. Fighting to keep warming in check — which will include radically and rapidly reducing coal and oil consumption, among other things — will save lives, the food supply, and homes.”

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