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Trump questions United Nations global warming report

10 October 2018

The IPCC met last week in Incheon, South Korea, to finalize the report, prepared at the request of governments in 2015 to assess the feasibility and importance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

The IPCC study, which took almost three years to complete and involved 91 authors from 40 countries, is the first to look in detail at the 1.5 deg C limit, which is one of the goals in the 2015 UN Paris Climate Agreement.

"There is no definitive way to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 above pre-industrial levels", the United Nations -requested report said.

"The report shows that we only have the slimmest of opportunities remaining to avoid unthinkable damage to the climate system that supports life as we know it", said Amjad Abdulla, the IPCC board member and chief negotiator for an alliance of small island nation at risk of flooding as sea levels rise.

Warming of 2C above pre-industrial levels had widely been thought of as the threshold beyond which unsafe climate change will occur, but vulnerable countries such as low-lying island states warn rises above 1.5C will threaten their survival. No wonder that the panel is calling for following the 1.5-degree scenario instead of the 2-degree one, which was widely seen as more realistic. Even at the current level of 1°C warming, it is painful.

"I will be looking at it, absolutely", Trump said.

The authors of the study estimate that updating the global energy system would require an annual investment of $2.4 trillion between 2016 and 2035. Human-produced Carbon dioxide emissions would have to drop by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching "net zero" by 2050, according to the report.

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Swiftly reducing emissions - even with carbon removal - will also require unprecedented levels of worldwide cooperation, a particular challenge as some national governments, like that in the United States, look increasingly inward.

The IPCC report is undeniably grim, but its authors state that the 1.5°C target can still be met if unprecedented, wide-ranging action is taken straight away.

With a global temperature increase of 1.5C, there would be a 16 per cent increase in the number of hot days whereas with 2C, this rises further to 25 per cent.

But the report adds: "The effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development".

The lower target would also reduce species loss and extinction, and the impact on terrestrial, freshwater and coastal ecosystems, the report said.

"The next few years are probably the most important in our history", warned Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

But turning over much more land for energy production "could have implications for food security, ecosystems and biodiversity", the British scientist warned, as competition for land grows.

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Holthaus also tweeted that he is available to lend his expertise to "any TV/radio news program this week to put this report in its appropriate context" - but with a special exemption for Fox News due to their not accepting science.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) looked at the steps needed to limit global warming to 1.5 deg C.

A landmark report by the United Nations has warned that the world has just 12 years to halt global warming.

At the Paris Agreement in 2015‚ 2 degrees was set as the ceiling we should aim to stay under‚ but that has now shifted to 1.5 degrees.

The city passed the TransformTO climate action strategy in July 2017, with the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, 65 per cent by 2030, and 30 per cent by 2020, based on 1990 levels.

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. The report said warmer water coral reefs "will largely disappear".

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