Dyer: Global warming report falls short of honest truth

Ismael LynchOct 14, 2018

Thanks to a poor winter and long-term drought, New Mexico's largest reservoir, Elephant Butte, is now at 3.2 percent capacity. The impact of human-induced warming is worse than previously feared, the report released Monday says, and only drastic coordinated action will keep the damage short of catastrophe.

The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, this week released a new document that looks at the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 F) above preindustrial levels.

According to the IPCC's special report, if the Earth's temperature increases by more than 1.5°C, the changes will be "long-lasting" and "irreversible". Currently, average temperature has increased one degree since human activity began emitting large quantities of carbon dioxide at the Industrial Revolution.

"There is no definitive way to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 above pre-industrial levels", the United Nations -requested report said.

Putin denies human-caused climate change and the Kremlin points to Russia's GHG emissions having already fallen significantly since 1990 following the collapse of the polluting communist system.

IPCC's special report gives unequivocal message that the global average temperature rise has already reached 1 deg C. With the current speed of action, the additional rise of half a degree is just about 12 years away, within the lifetime of most of the humanity living today. The report also notes that "any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing Carbon dioxide from the air".

Ironically, when rain does fall, it is expected to be much heavier, increasing the risk of heavy flooding within an overall drying climate. Together, higher temperatures and precipitation changes will decrease soil moisture and increase drought. Wise Response support this intention 100% and urges all parties to take the time to fully comprehend the implications of the IPCC report to ensure that our response is adequate. There are many well recognised uncertainties in understanding climate change - for instance, even if we set a course aiming to hit 1.5℃ (which is mostly determined by future CO₂ emissions), we could end up hitting, say, 1℃ or 2℃ instead.

"When the federal government fails to act, we must look to states, cities, and the private sector to redouble their efforts", Udall added.

We have effectively wasted the past 30 years, since the climate change threat first became known, and there is now very little time left.

President Donald Trump's administration has chose to freeze federal standards for fuel efficiency, which would increase greenhouse gas emissions. "And a lot of these changes that we've seen are consistent with what this report is saying is likely, and what the global models are saying is likely to occur".

This report takes a global view and does not cover regional or national circumstances. But it wasn't necessarily new.

For Prof Francois Engelbrecht, chief researcher in climate studies, modelling and environmental health at the CSIR, the problem of adapting to climate change in southern Africa is that it's already a dry and warm region.

Students said the report makes them question their future. They say it excludes scientists who downplay the effect of burning fossil fuels. That is the big global target. The use of fossil fuels (such as coal, oil and gas) needs to be radically reduced by 2030: coal by 67%, oil by 50% and gas by 33%. "But it will require unprecedented and collective climate action in all areas". It has, therefore, rightly called for redoubling the effort to limit the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial levels as mooted in the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change.

A psychology lecturer at the University of Brighton has warned that individual behaviour and lifestyle changes are not enough to halt the escalation of global warming.

"With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC", said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC. Through various initiatives, the state has spent more than $180 million in the last four years on climate-smart farming projects. The report's authors estimate that, by 2025, electric vehicles will account for around 25% of new vehicles sold globally.

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