News in cooperation with eceee.org

World leaders 'have moral obligation to act' after UN climate report

(The Guardian, 8 Oct 2018) Even half degree of extra warming will affect hundreds of millions of people, decimate corals and intensify heat extremes, report shows.

World leaders have been told they have moral obligation to ramp up their action on the climate crisis in the wake of a new UN report that shows even half a degree of extra warming will affect hundreds of millions of people, decimate corals and intensify heat extremes.

But the muted response by Britain, Australia and other governments highlights the immense political challenges facing adoption of pathways to the relatively safe limit of 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures outlined on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

With the report set to be presented at a major climate summit in Poland in December, known as COP24, there is little time for squabbles. The report noted that emissions need to be cut by 45% by 2030 in order to keep warming within 1.5C. That means decisions have to be taken in the next two years to decommission coal power plants and replace them with renewables, because major investments usually have a lifecycle of at least a decade.

Mary Robinson, a UN special envoy on climate, said Europe should set an example by adopting a target of zero-carbon emissions by 2050. “Before this, people talked vaguely about staying at or below 2C – we now know that 2C is dangerous,” she said. “So it is really important that governments take the responsibility, but we must all do what we can.”

The UK, which has gone further than most nations by cutting its annual emissions by 40% since 1990, will need to step up if the more ambitious goal is to be reached.

External link

The Guardian, 8 Oct 2018: World leaders 'have moral obligation to act' after UN climate report