After decades of hedging its bets, the IPCC has put it starkly; we are on the edge of climate disaster – and it will be difficult and hugely expensive but utterly necessary to pull back.
Dropping its usual woolly wording, the IPCC warns that “rapid , far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” will be needed to stay below the Paris agreement target of 1.5 degrees of warming.
Take Note, Trump
We have already reached 1.0 to 1.1 degrees of warming, and even in the UK – which is likely to be one of the least affected – it’s become obvious that the choice is going to be between pretty uncomfortable and catastrophic. In a related piece of research, Carbon Brief has mapped where the worst effects will be found and – perhaps the ultimate irony – it looks as if the USA could be among those counties most badly affected.
“Scientists might want to write in capital letters, ‘ACT NOW IDIOTS’, but they need to say that with facts and numbers,” said Kaisa Kosonen, from Greenpeace, who was an observer at the negotiations. “And they have.”
Dicing with Liveability
The BBCs coverage – at last free from the millstone of having to trundle out deniers for ‘balance’ – explains it eloquently: “The researchers … paint a picture of the world with a dangerous fever, caused by humans. We used to think if we could keep warming below 2 degrees this century then the changes we would experience would be manageable.
Not any more. This new study says that going past 1.5C is dicing with the planet’s liveability. And the 1.5C temperature “guard rail” could be exceeded in just 12 years in 2030.
We can stay below it but it will require urgent, large-scale changes from governments and individuals, plus we will have to invest a massive pile of cash every year, around 2.5% of global GDP, for two decades.
Even then, we will still need machines, trees and plants to capture carbon from the air that we can then store deep underground. Forever!”