Historic IPCC Report Lays Out Last Best Chance For Civilization

on October 10, 2018

Historic IPCC Report Lays Out Last Best Chance For Civilization

New York—The IPCC has concluded a much-anticipated report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees C above preindustrial levels and related greenhouse emissions pathways.

The report was drafted at the urging of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and other parties during the 2015 Conference of the Parties in Paris and represented an important step forward in the international community’s acknowledgment of what likely consequences of global warming beyond 1.5 degrees will mean for billions of people around the world and what can be done to stop it, particularly for small island states.

Amjad Abdulla, chief negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States, and IPCC Bureau member, commented: “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. I have no doubt that historians will look back at these findings as one of the defining moments in the course of human affairs.”

Key findings from Summary for Policy Makers, include (see full draft summary attached):

– Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warmingabove pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052.

– Pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems (high confidence). These systems transitions are unprecedented in terms of scale, but not necessarily in terms of speed, and imply deep emissions reductions in all sectors, a wide portfolio of mitigation options and a significant upscaling of investments in those options (medium confidence).

– Estimates of the global emissions outcome of current nationally stated mitigation ambitions as submitted under the Paris Agreement would lead to global greenhouse gas emissions18 in 2030 of 52–58 GtCO2eq yr-1 (medium confidence). Pathways reflecting these ambitions would not limit global warming to 1.5°C, even if supplemented by very challenging increases in the scale and ambition of emissions reductions after 2030 (high confidence). Avoiding overshoot and reliance on future large-scale deployment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) can only be achieved if global CO2 emissions start to decline well before 2030 (high confidence).

– The consideration of ethics and equity can help address the uneven distribution of adverse impacts associated with 1.5°C and higher levels of global warming, as well as those from mitigation and adaptation, particularly for poor and disadvantaged populations, in all societies.

– Mitigation and adaptation consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C are underpinned by enabling conditions, assessed in SR1.5 across the geophysical, environmental-ecological, technological, economic, socio-cultural and institutional dimensions of feasibility. Strengthened multi-level governance, institutional capacity, policy instruments, technological innovation and transfer and mobilization of finance, and changes in human behaviour and lifestyles are enabling conditions that enhance the feasibility of mitigation and adaptation options for 1.5°C consistent systems transitions. (high confidence)

“A crucial finding of the IPCC is the absolute necessity for the means of implementation necessary to bring clean energy to scale immediately. I urge all civilized nations to take responsibility for it by dramatically increasing our efforts to cut the emissions responsible for the crisis and to do what is necessary to help vulnerable people respond to some of the devastating consequences we now know can no longer be avoided,” Abdulla continued.

The international community will have its first opportunity to act on the IPCC warning in December at the next round of climate change talks in Katowice, Poland.

Mr. Abdulla is prepared to comment on the report from South Korea after it is made public. He can be reached by WhatsApp at: +960 777 5543 or email at

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