Scottish Government to seek new advice on climate change targets

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The IPCC report said at the current rate of warming, the world's temperatures would likely reach 1.5C between 2030 and 2052 after an increase of 1C above pre-industrial levels since the mid-1800s.

The corresponding October 8, 2018 IPCC "Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C approved by governments" press release lays out report findings, perhaps the most important of which is: "Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment".

Yesterday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations scientific and intergovernmental body, published the summary for policymakers of its Global Warming of 1.5ºC (SR15) report.

Without considering adaptation options, such as cooling of more reflective roofs and the general characteristics of urban conglomerations in terms of land use, zoning and building codes, with two degrees of warming the cities of Karachi (Pakistan) and Kolkata (India) would have annual conditions comparable to the deadly heat waves of 2015. It further stated that India is one of the countries which is at risk if the global average temperature breaches the 2℃ mark.

Risks are projected to be highest in south and south-east Asia, assuming there is no upgrade to present protection levels, for all temperatures of climate warming.

The global unprecedented effort will require transformational change in our energy systems and beyond. Limiting global warming to 2 degrees no longer cuts it. Drawing from more than 6000 scientific studies, the report put forth a path by virtue of which this seemingly unattainable task can be achieved.

Limiting global warming to 1.5C will cost the world $2.4 trillion every year for the next two decades, the United Nations report warns.

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If temperatures go up by 2C, then nearly all coral reefs in the world would start dying off, according to the report.

The use of coal as an electricity source would also need to be dropped from 40 per cent to between 7 and 1 per cent by 2050.

"One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes", Co-Chair of one of the IPCC Working Groups Panmao Zhai said.

Issued two months before the worldwide climate talks in Katowice, Poland, the report provides a timely input for the Commission's proposal for a strategy for long-term European Union greenhouse gas emissions reductions, to be presented in November, the EC said on October 8.

- Coral reefs would decline by 70-90% with warming of 1.5C, compared to more than 99% with 2C. The 1.5℃ cap also fits with the sustainable development goals like those linked to hunger, poverty, sanitation etc.

At 1.5 degrees, megacities like Lagos, in Nigeria, and Shanghai, China, could suffer heat stress, exposing more than 350 million people to that risk, experts say. A 2°C warmer world will devastate economies and ecosystems and push hundreds of millions of people back 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. They invited the scientists to tell them about this because the Paris Agreement said, we're going to pursue efforts towards 1.5 degrees.

"We have a monumental task in front of us", says co-author Natalie Mahowald, from Cornell University, "but it is not impossible". While global warming might not be explicitly visible today, it has been constantly shaping the world that we live in. Governments can try and make changes to the text but changes must be agreed by consensus.