India highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, say experts on United Nations report

James Marshall
October 10, 2018

NH Ravindranath, of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), who has been an IPCC author and specialises in forestry, says, "Climate change is already impacting natural ecosystems and socio-economic systems even at current level of warming of 1°C".

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

Many in Trump's Republican party are self-described climate change skeptics, questioning whether the overwhelming consensus of scientists around the world about manmade causes for ever-rising temperatures is accurate.

Similarly, when it comes to heat waves, in a world that's warmed by up 1.5C, about 14% of the population are exposed to a heat wave every five years.

"India and many other countries are already facing impact of 1 degree celsius of global warming".

The headlines about cutting emissions by 45% by 2030 and getting nearly all of our electricity from renewables by the middle of the century, are all very well but a key point of this report is that successfully limiting climate change to 1.5C is not just down to cutting emissions or making lifestyle changes or planting trees - it is all of that and then some, acting in concert at the same time. At least 70 percent of electricity supply will need to come from renewables by 2050 to stay within the 1.5C limit, compared with about 25 percent now. Per the IPCC, humans need to slash carbon output to 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 and to straight-up zero by 2050.

"If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences...."

She said: 'That is the kind of reality we must face if governments don't take notice of this report'.

In December 2015, as many as 195 countries reached an agreement in Paris to combat climate change and accelerate and intensify actions and investments needed for a sustainable low-carbon future.

World Wildlife Fund Australia campaigner Monica Richter said food waste is one area where consumer decisions can make an impact on global warming. On current trends the 1.5°C threshold could be reached as early as 2030.

"Limiting warming to (2.7 degrees) is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics", Jim Skea of Imperial College London, one of the authors of the report, said, "but doing so would require unprecedented changes". The first stabilises global temperature around the 1.5°C mark with limited overshoot and the second permits temperatures to exceed 1.5°C temporarily before coming back down. 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.

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.

The U.N. group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, shared the Nobel peace prize with Al Gore in 2007 for its work to share information about climate change.

Rachel Kennerley, climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: 'Just like ignoring credit card statements so that repayments only become sharper and steeper, this report shows that weak responses will make it harder in the long-run.

Professor Corinne Le Quere, from the University of East Anglia, said: "For the United Kingdom, this means a rapid switch to renewable energy and electric cars, insulating our homes, planting trees, where possible walking or cycling and eating well - more plants and less meat - and developing an industry to capture carbon and store it underground".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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