Limit climate change ? do everything and do it now, scientists plead

The Great Barrier Reef off the northeastern coast of Australia in December 2017

By largely ignoring such feedbacks, the IPCC report fails to adequately warn leaders about the cluster of six similar climate tipping points that could be crossed between today's temperature and an increase to 1.5 degrees-let alone almost another dozen tipping points between 1.5 and 2 degrees. "Solving the climate crisis requires vision and leadership", he continued. But the window of opportunity will close for good the longer we delay'.

The IPCC said if global warming could be limited to 1.5C, then the world would have a fighting chance of avoiding catastrophic problems, including the inundation of coastal cities such as Perth and mass extinctions of animals and insects.

One of the lead authors, Murdoch University climate scientist Jatin Kala, said even if global warming was kept to 1.5C there could still be "dire consequences" for WA's South West, such as altered growing seasons in the Wheatbelt and wine regions such as the Swan Valley.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: "In line with our evidence based approach to tackling climate change, we are committed to considering the report carefully, including seeking updated independent, expert advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change on its implications for our targets". "And now more than ever we know that every bit of warming matters".

One of the key goals of the accord was to limit the increase in global temperature to well below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels, and to attempt a more aspirational goal of containing the rise to 1.5°C by the end of the century. That slower rate of rising water would mean that people living in island nations and along coastlines would have more time to adapt.

But turning over much more land for energy production "could have implications for food security, ecosystems and biodiversity", the British scientist warned, as competition for land grows. The risk to fisheries would be lower.

The outcome will determine whether "my grandchildren would get to see lovely coral reefs", Princeton's Oppenheimer said.

The report suggests that coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all ( 99 percent) would be lost with 2ºC.

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Sea levels, for example, would be 10cm lower in a 1.5 degree scenario than a 2 degree scenario, and there would be substantially fewer heatwaves and droughts. If not, the researchers say, the threat to people, ecosystems and sustainable development will rise to irreversible levels. That makes ecological and economic sense.

World leaders could reverse the damage (to the tune of trillions of dollars), but that would depend largely on whether lawmakers want to invest in the cause.

The world needs to make decisions now for the future.

"Urban systems that are moving towards transformation are coupling solar and wind with battery storage and electric vehicles in a more incremental transition, though this would still require changes in regulations, tax incentives, new standards, demonstration projects and education programs to enable markets for this system to work", the IPCC report said. By lowering emissions and deploying carbon capture technology, we could possibly bring temperatures back down under the threshold.

"We have done our job, we have now passed on the message", Jim Skea, a professor at Imperial College London's Centre for Environmental Policy and an IPCC co-chair, said at a press conference. "Each year that the global economy fails to decarbonize at the required rate, the two-degree goal becomes more hard to achieve". Climate change is moving faster than we are....

And we're running out of time to thwart it. "There's certainly things that we'll need to invest in more to develop the next generation of solutions".

"The US is pretty much on target to reach its (climate) targets at least in the short-term - the market is driving this", said McCarthy, who ran the EPA under Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, from 2013 to 2017.

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