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

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The special report on global warming by a United Nations body has set the tone for the upcoming climate conference in Poland where countries will now have to make efforts to align their pledges with the 1.5-degree celsius goal - a more stringent target than the existing agreement to limit average temperature rise within 2 degree celsius by 2100.

A landmark United Nations report on Monday warned that sufficiently limiting man-made global warming will "require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" in order to avoid dramatic global consequences, including rising sea levels, dying coral reefs and human casualties due to extreme heat.

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

A rise of 1.5C would still carry climate-related risks for nature and mankind but the risks would be lower than a rise of 2C, the report summary said.

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

Li said the city's current climate strategy was not aggressive enough and urged the government to align itself with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees by setting an 80 per cent emissions reduction target for 2030.

Overall, the Earth has to reduce the amount of Carbon dioxide produced each year by 45 per cent by 2030 - and reduce Carbon dioxide production to zero by 2050.

Henn was actually responding to Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann who was pushing back against those criticizing the IPCC report as too "alarmist" in its declarations and warnings.

While more than 180 countries have accepted the report's summary, the USA (which is the second biggest emitter in the world) said that their acceptance of the report does not "imply endorsement" of the findings.

The report will provide the framework of discussion for the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

Stephanie Pfeifer, chief executive of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) which represents investors with trillions of pounds of assets under management, said the report showed limiting global warming to 1.5C is what was needed.

World Wildlife Fund Australia campaigner Monica Richter said food waste is one area where consumer decisions can make an impact on global warming.

Why do we need to limit global warming to 1.5C?

But how can a few degrees make such a big difference - and why is 1.5 so important?

Sea level rises would be 10cm lower with a 1.5C temperature rise compared to 2C by 2100, while there would be worse impacts on coral reefs and the Arctic at higher temperatures.

The report is also pretty explicit in claiming that "unprecedented changes" are required to limit warming to 1.5℃.

Overall, the authors say that current greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030.

If emissions can't be cut to a sufficient degree, researchers will need to devise effective methods of removing Carbon dioxide from the air, such as devoting land to growing trees and biofuel crops, Erik Solheim, executive director of the UN Environment Program, tells The Washington Post. "We need to do better than that". It's up to them to use this manual, considering the constraints or opportunities existing in different countries.

But meeting the more ambitious goal of slightly less warming would require immediate, draconian cuts in emissions of heat-trapping gases and dramatic changes in the energy field.

The danger of crossing tipping points, or thresholds beyond which the earth's systems are no longer able to stabilise, becomes higher with more warming.

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