Global Temperature To Rise By 1.5 Degree Celsius Between 2030 And 2052: UN Report
A United Nations report on Monday said that temperatures are likely to rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 and 2052 if global warming continues at its current pace and if humanity fails to take rapid steps to curb the problem. The report released by the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that there is a little over a decade left for global warming to be kept at a maximum of 1.5℃, beyond which even a half a degree increase will worsen climactic conditions across the globe and affect human health.
Reportedly the UN IPCC met last week in Incheon, South Korea to finalise the much-anticipated world’s largest review on climate change, which was prepared at the request of governments in 2016 when the Paris agreement was inked. The Paris pact aims to limit the global average temperature rise to “well below” 2℃ mark (above the pre-industrial level) while aiming to limit it at 1.5℃. Presently, the world is 1℃ warmer than the pre-industrial levels.
Risks for India
According to The Times Of India, the IPCC report specifically mentions Kolkata in the Indian subcontinent which could face an increased threat of heat waves. India could face annual deadly heat waves like the one in 2015 which took 2,500 lives. Moreover, it said that climate change has significantly contributed to heat-related deaths. It further stated that India is one of the countries which is at risk if the global average temperature breaches the 2℃ mark.
Not only environmental implications but an increase in global temperatures can increase poverty rates as it has been projected as “poverty multiplier through food insecurity, higher food prices and income losses. However, limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5℃ as opposed to 2℃ can help in reducing poverty as well as reduce losses in yields of maize, rice, wheat and other cereal crops, mainly in Asia.
What does the UN report on climate change say?
While it is not said that it is impossible to limit global warming to 1.5℃, however, scientists have said that attaining it would be a very difficult task. Drawing from more than 6000 scientific studies, the report put forth a path by virtue of which this seemingly unattainable task can be achieved.
According to Reuters, the report stated that to stay at the 1.5℃ cap, manmade net global carbon dioxide emissions would need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and the world must become “carbon neutral” by 2050. Jim Skea, co-chair of the IPCC working group said, “Limiting warming to 1.5℃ is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes.”
The summary also said that renewable energy would need to supply 70% to 85% of electricity by 2050 as compared to just 25% now to stay within the 1.5℃ mark. Moreover, if global temperatures were to exceed the mark temporarily, then, additional carbon removal techniques would be required to return warming to below 1.5℃ by 2100. The report is going to be discussed at a conference in Poland during the end of the year.
Is 1.5℃ safe?
While the 1.5℃ cap is the desired limit, it isn’t entirely safe for humans as well as for the flora and fauna. The half degree change would impact nature significantly as up to 90% of warm water coral reefs are predicted to disappear when global warming reaches 1.5℃, however, it the reefs will still have a 10% rate of survival, which is higher than what will survive when the temperature reaches 2℃. The 1.5℃ cap also fits with the sustainable development goals like those linked to hunger, poverty, sanitation etc. According to The Guardian, at 1.5℃ the number of people globally who are expected to suffer from water scarcity would roughly halve. When compared to living conditions at 2℃, Food scarcity would be less of a problem and fewer people will be pushed into poverty. Hence, the 1.5℃ target might not be entirely safe, it is still far better than the dire consequences of what 2℃ will bring.
The Logical Indian take
Aiming to limit global warming at 1.5℃ is a mammoth task at hand, it requires a massive social transformation in the way we consume energy. However, it isn’t an impossible task as outlined by the experts. While global warming might not be explicitly visible today, it has been constantly shaping the world that we live in. It is important for each of us to understand the consequences and act on it and make sustainable use of energies.