IPCC special report 2018 on global warming is out, the world has to act fast!
What is global warming? The temperature has increased by almost 1.0 ºC since pre industrial revolution. The earth temperature can be increased by natural and human activities. It is more man activities which has accelerated the global warming. The earth has capacity to maintain balance but due to large scale production of green house gases has destroyed the natural balance. The scientific community has been raising the flag since many years. Now the global warming has reached at a point beyond which world may see many disastrous atmospheric events in fact the consequences are already well visible all over the world.
In this background the IPCC Panel at its 43rd session decided to accept the invitation of the UNFCCC to prepare a special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 ºC above pre-industrial level .The IPCC was also urged to provide the pathways to curb the global green house gases.
What special report says? Recently in Incheon, Republic of Korea, the special report on global warming impacts of 1.5 °C rise above pre industrial levels came out.The report stressed upon the dire need of arresting the temperate rise within 1.5 °C, beyond that the consequences on ecology and human population will be more dangerous. The key findings of the report are:-
-Global warming is likely to reach 1.5 °C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase with current rate.
-Warming from anthropogenic emissions will persist for centuries to millennia and will continue to cause climatic changes.
-If peak temperature is high as 2.0 °C then Earth may lose some ecosystems and species permanently.
What are the main causes of global warming? The green house gases are major factors of global warming. They trap the incoming solar radiation and increase the net heat budget of the earth. The more carbon on earth and its atmosphere, the more temperature will increase. The burning of fossil fuel for energy, deforestation for infrastructure and agriculture and methane produced by livestock are the main reasons for green house gases.
What are visible impacts of this threat? The impacts are not similar across the whole world but every part of the earth is facing extreme weather events like drought, flash floods, cold and heat waves. The average sea level has risen by significant margin and the small islands are already facing threat of submergence. The climatic refugees are likely to increase in coming years. This will cause many socio-economic and political problems across the world. Due to sea water incursion and failure of crops world may not meet the demand of the food for more than 7.5 billion population.
What will be the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C and 2.0 °C? The impacts are felt everywhere but they vary in distribution across the earth. Some regions may have large and frequent extreme weather conditions. The warming is higher at continents especially in Arctic in winter season and mid latitude areas in summer season. The melting of ice sheets in arctic region will reduce the capacity of reflecting the solar radiation as ice has more albedo than barren land.
Who will be impacted most by global warming? Although whole world will face the extreme climatic conditions but the impact will not be same. The technologically advanced and developed nations can better adopt the new change but less developed, small islands and developing countries will have more negative impact. At individual level it will be the poor who will be hit the most. Let’s not forget that most of the poor people live in less and developing countries. The growth of world economy will face problems.
Are we on track to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 °C? The current pledges by the nations are not on track, hence we can overshoot the limit of 1.5 °C, even if current pledges achieved by 2030 the warming would exceed 1.5 °C because researchers find very few ways to reduce emissions after 2030 sufficiently and quickly. The nation who accepts or ratifies the Paris agreement submits pledges how emissions would be cut. These are different for each nation and called nationally determined contributions (NDCs).If world is committed to limit global warming by 1.5 °C then there should be rapid decline in green house gases emission in coming decades but on the other hand delayed action and lack of cooperation among countries can put the limit of 1.5 °C out of reach.
What we have to do to limit global warming to 1.5 °C? We need to maintain net zero emissions of Co2 that is the amount of co2 entering into atmosphere and the amount of co2 being reduced must be equal. But it is not possible until we curb the energy use at large scale. If we use large fossil fuel energy then it would be difficult to achieve target of 1.5 °C. We need to cut the emissions rapidly. The regions which are lacking in arresting the emissions need to be proactive and reduce emissions drastically in coming decades.
What are the alternate development methods to reduce carbon emission? The use of renewable energy sources should be increased like solar, wind, hydro and nuclear. Trees work as carbon sink so more focus should be on forestation and sustainable development. Amazon forests are called lungs of the world. Recently the deforestation activities have been increased and this needs to be arrested as soon as possible. The emission from farming activities can be reduced by developing new good fodders or stock which is environment friendly.
The IPCC report is eye opening and world must work together to fight this global cause. The small islands are already facing the problem of sea level rise and losing their land due to submergence. If these nations are submerged then where climatic refuges would go. There will be many socioeconomic problems. The poverty and malnutrition are already became great concerns for the world. It would be poor people who will be hit hard by the climatic change.
The world needs to work together and adopt the renewable energy sources at large scale. The support of finance and technologies should be made available to the nations who lack these resources. On the other hand the people should understand this global threat. At individual level they can help in awareness of the issue. They can change the life styles for reducing the waste of energy and food.