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December 14, 2018

Climate scientists warn we have just 12 years to protect Earth from catastrophe

October 8, 2018
The cliffs in Great Yarmouth, England, have wildly eroded recently due to climate change. (Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)

The top climate scientists in the world say the effect of climate change on Earth could be irreversible in barely more than a decade.

A new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that current plans to reduce greenhouse gases aren’t enough to ensure that global temperatures won’t rise more than 2.7 degrees, at which point the effects could be catastrophic.




“Limiting warming to (2.7 degrees) is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics,” Jim Skea of Imperial College London, one of the authors of the report, said,, “but doing so would require unprecedented changes.”

Scientists say that human-caused carbon dioxide emissions will need to fall about 45% by 2030 from the 2010 levels and zero out in 2050 to avoid “rapid and far-reaching” effects on land, energy, industry, buildings, transportation and cities.

Among the suggestions to help slow down include growing more forests and burning biomass for electricity instead of fossil fuels, but that’s unlikely to suffice. Even less than a degree increase in the global temperature would risk destroying the coral reefs, the Antarctic ice sheets and crops, as well as make the ocean more acidic.

“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of (2.7 degrees) or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II, said.




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