The new challenge of Climate Breakdown


Limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would require rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society

Nick Coates writes: “This is the stark warning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - the leading global body for assessing the science related to climate change and its impacts.

Global human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, and to reach net zero by around 2050. We would need to make changes to the way we use of land and energy. This has important consequences for industry, buildings, cities and transport. This affects all of us and requires all of us to act.

“If we succeed in limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC then, for example by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower and instead of losing all our coral reefs they “only” decline by 70-90%. Hardly a big win but these are just illustrations.

And this affects the UK too. An unpublished Environment Agency report estimated that over 7,000 homes on our coast would be “lost to rising seas”.

The IPCC assessment demonstrates that policy makers at all levels must knuckle down and focus on tackling climate change whilst taking account of the local context and people’s needs.

How we react to this new challenge of climate change over the next few years will probably be the most important in our history.


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