The good, the bad and the ugly: The IPCC special report on global warming of 1.5°C

(EurActiv, 8 Oct 2018) The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows keeping global warming below 1.5°C is necessary, feasible and beneficial. Rich countries must now commit to ensure their economies reach net zero emissions before 2050, writes Nick Mabey.

Nick Mabey is Chief Executive of E3G, a European think tank promoting ‘Third Generation Environmentalism’.

Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched their special report on global warming of 1.5°C, showing climate risks are worse than we thought.

The report demonstrates that allowing global temperatures to rise near 2°C is not safe. Already with only 1°C of warming the world is seeing far greater risks of extreme weather events, loss of sea ice and increased sea level rise than was predicted even just five years ago. These impacts are already causing major economic damage and social disruption, including increased migration and instability across the globe.

The IPCC warns that at temperatures above 1.5°C there is a significant chance of breaching significant “tipping points” in major ecosystems like coral reefs. Temperature increases will also cause instability in Antarctic ice sheets. We simply cannot afford to take this risk.

Miracle technologies won’t get us out of this fix

Currently, we are heading for more than 3°C of warming around the world. Rapid action is the only way to change course. The IPCC report shows, keeping temperatures below 1.5°C is technically and economically possible, but requires fundamental changes in all countries on an unprecedented timescale.

The special report cautions against a wait-to-act-now mentality and further emphasizes the risks of relying on technology to deliver large scale “negative greenhouse gas emissions” sometime in the future. Such technologies may emerge, but they are too risky to rely on for current action.

Instead, countries will need to immediately scale-up existing technological solutions which can reliably put the world on track to a 1.5°C future over the next two decades. Simultaneously, there must be increased investment in innovation and new technologies to deliver better solutions in sectors like aviation and agriculture, ensuring the world will reliably reach net zero emissions by 2050.

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EurActiv, 8 Oct 2018: The good, the bad and the ugly: The IPCC special report on global warming of 1.5°C