Why farmers are forcing climate change into the spotlight

Olive Hawkins
October 10, 2018

"The only way to slow near-term feedbacks [which could drive climate change past tipping points] in the 15- to 20-year window before we lose control to runaway warming is to cut the SLCPs, which can provide considerably more avoided warming at mid-century than cuts to carbon dioxide can provide", said Durwood Zaelke, founder of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development and a reviewer of the IPCC report on the effects of 1.5 C warming.

Increasingly, you don't have to convince Australian farmers of that.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there will be irreversible changes and the entire loss of some ecosystems if the world doesn't take immediate and intensive action to cut greenhouse gas emissions far more than is occurring now. Adding another 0.9 degrees on top of that - the looser global goal - essentially means a different and more challenging Earth for people and species, said another of the report's lead authors, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, Australia.

This target was long considered the threshold for the most risky effects of climate change, including the mass destruction of coral reefs, widespread food shortages, destructive wildfires and coastal flooding.

To have a chance of meeting the 1.5 degrees goal, climate-changing emissions would have to plunge 45 percent by 2030 compared to 2010 levels, the report said.

What Will We See Once Global Warming Is Limited To 1.5C? By the year 2030, global human-caused emissions of Carbon dioxide would need to fall by roughly 45 percent relative to 2010 levels.

President Donald Trump sounded skeptical about the United Nation's dire new report on the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change, telling reporters that he wants to look into those who crafted it.

This report says that the world doesn't have to come up with some magic machines to curb climate change - we've already got all the tech we need.

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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 IPCC met last week in Incheon, South Korea to finalise the report, prepared at the request of governments in 2015 to assess the feasibility and importance of limiting global warming to 1.5C.

While the global average temperature is now at about 1 degree, some parts of the world are already experiencing 1.5 degree global warming. But even a 1.5°C rise in temperature will be threatening to India. If greenhouse gas emissions continue at the status quo, we'll be looking at an increase of as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels by 2040.

The dramatic report warned that the planet is now heading to warm by 3C - and to slash that to less than 1.5C as laid out in the Paris agreement will require "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society".

Last-ditch efforts to hold climate change to the most ambitious target set by governments will likely require using every available technique rather than picking and choosing the most attractive ones, climate scientists said on Monday.

"Limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society", an IPCC press release reads.

The summary backed the use of carbon pricing, and said governments needed to make a decisive shift towards renewable energy.

"Examples of actions include shifting to low- or zero-emission power generation, such as renewables; changing food systems, such as diet changes away from land-intensive animal products; electrifying transport and developing "green infrastructure", such as building green roofs, or improving energy efficiency by smart urban planning, which will change the layout of many cities", the report said.

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