A recently published report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that “the world stands on the brink of a failure when it comes to holding global warming to moderate levels,” according to a recent article by The Washington Post. The report discovered that “nations will need to take unprecedented actions to cut their carbon emissions over the next decade” in order to prevent the planet’s temperature from increasing by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
IPCC published that “there is no documented historic precedent” for the type of change in energy and transportation that will be needed to prevent the world’s temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Washington Post reported that more than 1 billion tons of emissions per year must be eliminated and “the report calls for a total or near-total phaseout of the burning of coal.” They also found that the world’s percentage of electricity from renewables must increase to 50-60% and most coal plants need to be shut down permanently by 2050.
If the needed sweeping changes don’t occur on a global scale, the planet will face unprecedented environmental problems. IPCC’s findings show that an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius or higher would lead to the melting of ice in Antarctica and Greenland, which would bring sea-level rises of several feet. The organization also discovered that at 1.5 degrees Celsius, 70 to 90 percent of the world’s tropical coral reefs would vanish and an Alaskan-sized area of permafrost in the Arctic would thaw.
Glen Peters, research director for the Center for International Climate Research in Oslo explained that a global technical, political, technological, and social alignment must occur in order to prevent this report’s predictions. “To limit warming below 1.5C, or 2C for that matter, requires all countries and all sectors to act.”
“It’s like a deafening, piercing smoke alarm going off in the kitchen,” stated Erik Solheim, executive director of the U.N. Environmental Program in regards to the IPCC report. “We have to put out the fire.”