That climate change is a serious, imminent issue isn’t exactly a new revelation, but we may have less time than we thought. A report just issued by the United Nations claims that we only have until 2030 to curb climate change before our planet starts seeing some pretty devastating effects. These include more heatwaves, hotter summers, extreme droughts, rising sea levels, and an increase in superstorms. Based on over 6,000 scientific references from 91 authors across 40 countries, the report focuses on the effect of global warming above pre-industrial levels and calls for dramatic changes to be made.
The report says Earth is currently on track to reach the dangerous threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2030. This would precipitate a number of harmful environmental effects. “This is concerning,” Andrew King, climate science lecturer at the University of Melbourne, said in a statement, “because we know there are so many more problems if we exceed 1.5 degrees C of global warming.”
To keep the warming around 1.5 degrees C, global net emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030. King added, “The window on keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees C is closing rapidly.”
Failure to address the onset of climate change would not only result in draughts and extreme weather but also the diminishing of our oceans’ coral reefs. Seventy to 90 percent of coral reefs could be expected to die off, including the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Indeed, the report says Southern Hemisphere countries would feel the most devastating effects, as well as suffering the worst economic impact.
“Every bit of extra warming matters,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II, “especially since warming of 1.5 degrees C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes.”
This video provided by the Australian Academy of Science highlights some of the UN report’s key insights.
H/T: Business Insider