Today, a UN special report was released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to asses the impact of climate change. Specifically, issues with global warming reaching 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
One of the world’s biggest climate targets is to keep global warming below 2°C. As of today, the IPCC believes that this goal is no longer sufficient for staving away the consequences of global warming. The report goes on to say that in order to avoid catastrophic damage we will need rapid advancements in the fields of energy, land use, infrastructure and personal lifestyle.
1.5°C vs. 2°C
Here is a breakdown on the potential difference between living in a world 2 degrees warmer, vs that of one 1.5 degree warmer:
Climate models project robust differences in regional climate characteristics between present-day and global warming of 1.5°C, and between 1.5°C and 2°C. These differences include increases in: mean temperature in most land and ocean regions, hot extremes in most inhabited regions, heavy precipitation in several regions, and the probability of drought and precipitation deficits in some regions.
By 2100, global mean sea level rise is projected to be around 0.1 metre lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared to 2°C. Sea level will continue to rise well beyond 2100, and the magnitude and rate of this rise depends on future emission pathways. A slower rate of sea level rise enables greater opportunities for adaptation in the human and ecological systems of small islands, low-lying coastal areas and deltas.
Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2ºC is projected to reduce increases in ocean temperature as well as associated increases in ocean acidity and decreases in ocean oxygen levels. Consequently, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is projected to reduce risks to marine biodiversity, fisheries, and ecosystems, and their functions and
services to humans, as illustrated by recent changes to Arctic sea ice and warm water coral reef ecosystems.
Climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5°C and increase further with 2°C.