ECU atmospheric professor weighs in on new climate change report

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

Many of us may even be feeling its effects right now with air pollution and increasing annual rainfall, but the long-term consequences are even more unsettling.

Efforts to curb climate change must also extend beyond the 2015 Paris Agreement reached among 197 countries - which President Trump withdrew the USA from in June 2017.

The report highlights several climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to 2 degrees Celsius or more. We can't find any historical analogies for it.

From the beginning of next year, a new global pact will take effect that could have a profound impact on climate change, cutting harmful greenhouse gas emissions by amounts that could help stave off some of the worst impacts predicted by the IPCC. The US has been resisting large cuts in Carbon dioxide emissions.

The EPA's acting administrator, Andrew Wheeler, told The Post recently that the US would remain engaged in United Nations work on climate change, despite Trump's stated plan to withdraw from the Paris accord.

If people don't act now, the report says, we will hit 1.5 C somewhere between 2030 and 2052.

The city passed the TransformTO climate action strategy in July 2017, with the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, 65 per cent by 2030, and 30 per cent by 2020, based on 1990 levels. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing Carbon dioxide from the air.

"Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5ºC or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems", said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

"Limiting warming to 1.5C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics, but doing so would require unprecedented changes", he said.

In addition, insects and plants will be almost twice as likely to lose half of their habitat if global temperatures rose by 2°C as compared to if they went up by 1.5°C. Even at the current level of 1°C warming, it is painful.

Henn was actually responding to Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann who was pushing back against those criticizing the IPCC report as too "alarmist" in its declarations and warnings.

"Within the next decade or so, we will need to radically change the way we build our houses, move from one place to another and grow our food", said 350.org in a statement.

"The world we know today is not the world we will see in 50 years" if global warming exceeds 1.5 degrees Celsius, warned Debora Ley, one of 91 authors of the report looking at the feasibility of holding temperature rise to the most ambitious target set in the 2015 Paris Agreement. "Small island states, Mediterranean region and also Sub-Saharan Africa, which are already suffering and will suffer the most in the future".

Another SLCP is methane, produced when vegetation rots and from animals, and in the form of natural gas from fossil fuel exploration. "Sometimes they want to save it from global warming, other times they say they want to save it from global cooling".

Rajeevan says India is already experiencing extreme weather events; the unprecedented rains that triggered this year's Kerala floods being an example. "In totality, how the rest of the world handles the climate rogue behaviour of the Trump administration will decide whether the world meets the 1.5°C goal or not".

Holthaus also tweeted that he is available to lend his expertise to "any TV/radio news program this week to put this report in its appropriate context" - but with a special exemption for Fox News due to their not accepting science.

Climate change should not be a divisive political issue.

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