California Gov. Jerry Brown declared the world “must radically change” and “must decarbonize and establish a totally renewable basis for all economic activity” in reaction to a new UN report on climate change.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, meeting in South Korea, issued a report with 91 authors and editors from 40 countries declaring that there’s currently a 12-year window to make “far-reaching and unprecedented changes” to avert dramatic effects of global warming.
“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,” said Panmao Zhai, co-chair of one of the IPCC Working Groups.
“There will be 420 million people less suffering because of climate change if we would be able to limit the warming to 1.5°C level and we have certain areas in the world which are extremely sensitive,” Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, said today. “Small island states, (the) Mediterranean region and also sub-Saharan Africa is already suffering and will suffer more in the future.”
The IPCC report said that to keep warming at 1.5°C global net emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by 45 percent by 2030 and be “net zero” by 2050.
The head of the UN said the report should be an “ear-splitting wake-up call to the world” as “it confirms that climate change is running faster than we are – and we are running out of time.”
“Specifically, we need to end deforestation and plant billions of trees, drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels and phase out coal by 2050, ramp up installation of wind and solar power, invest in climate-friendly sustainable agriculture, and consider new technologies such as carbon capture and storage,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
If the warming level is at 2 degrees celsius, Guterres said, “It means more heat waves for tens of millions of people. Far greater species loss. Increased water scarcity in some of the world’s most unstable regions. A tenfold increase in Arctic ice-free summers. And a total wipe-out of the world’s coral reefs.”
California’s governor said during scorching wildfires this summer that “since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven’t had this kind of heat condition, and it’s going to continue getting worse and that’s the way it is” because of climate change.
Brown said in response to the IPCC report that “the big powers – the United States, China, India and the European Union – must show the way.”
“We can do it but only if the deniers, the skeptics and the comfortable wake up to what the scientists are telling us,” he said.
Former Vice President Al Gore said in his own statement that actions now have to go further than the 2015 Paris Agreement. The Trump administration delivered notice in August 2017 that it intends to withdraw from the agreement; under the treaty withdrawal rules, the U.S. can’t pull out until November 2019.
“As someone who cares deeply about the environment, which I do, I cannot in good conscience support a deal that punishes the United States — which is what it does -– the world’s leader in environmental protection, while imposing no meaningful obligations on the world’s leading polluters,” Trump said in a June 2017 speech announcing the withdrawal decision. “…Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree — think of that; this much — Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100. Tiny, tiny amount.”
Gore today said that the administration is “a rogue outlier… in direct conflict with American businesses, states, cities, and citizens leading the transformation.”