Chris Beales | climate change & music
IPCC Special Report 15 – Global warming of 1.5degC

The IPCC SR15 was released on 8 October 2018 with the strong messages that we have only 12 years to limit global warming to 1.5 degC.

“The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. 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.”IPCC SR15 press release
 

Consequences

Graph
Figure from the IPCC SR15 Report, page 13

Particular concerns for us in Reading, from those issues highlighted, include:

  • Flooding
  • Crop yields – with impacts on food availability / cost
  • Extreme heat – with potential for heat-related deaths
  • Knock on effects from other parts of the world that are exposed to more of highlighted risks

Notice that global temperatures have already risen by 1 degC, and we are already seeing the extreme weather events associated with this level of warming.

Mitigation pathways

graph
Figure from the IPCC SR15 Report, page 6

It is sobering to notice that our current trajectory is to hit 1.5 degC by 2040. It doesn’t have to be that way though, and SR15 details how we can reduce emissions to meet the 1.5 degC target.

graph
Figure from the IPCC SR15 Report, page 6

Reflecting on this graph: there is a massive job that we need to do…not least to fundamentally change the political and economic focus towards tackling this.

  • Happily we have a start with the Zero Carbon Reading work that Reading Borough Council have done
  • There is reason to be optimistic about the UK (see Emissions pages (chrisbeales.net)) if we can regain our focus
  • Whatever happens though we need to get ready to adapt to the changing climate…and the less we do to cut emissions, the harder this is going to be.

Chris Beales, RCCP Chair, Oct 2018



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