Think the heatwave was bad? Climate already hitting key tipping points

(Reuters News, 28 Jul 2019) Given the uncertain prospects for international cooperation to stabilise the climate, some are starting to steel themselves for the unravelling of the world they once knew.

It was an odd title for a comedy night, but British stand-up Carl Donnelly turned out to have chosen an environmental theme with impeccable timing.

With temperature records tumbling daily in last week's European heatwave, a crowd in an east London bar seemed uniquely primed to appreciate his darkly humorous riffs on the existential threat posed by climate change.

That foretaste of a radically hotter world underscored what is at stake in a decisive phase of talks to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement, a collective shot at avoiding climate breakdown.

With study-after-study showing climate impacts from extreme weather to polar melt and sea level rise outstripping initial forecasts, negotiators have a fast-closing window to try to turn the aspirations agreed in Paris into meaningful outcomes.

"There's so much on the line in the next 18 months or so," said Sue Reid, vice-president of climate and energy at Ceres, a U.S. non-profit group that works to steer companies and investors onto a more sustainable path.

"This is a crucial period of time both for public officials and the private sector to really reverse the curve on emissions," Reid told Reuters.

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Reuters News, 28 Jul 2019: Think the heatwave was bad? Climate already hitting key tipping points