Experts Warn We Have Just Over A Decade To Stem Catastrophic Climate Change

Helicopter dumping fire suppressant on a wildfire near a home
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The planet is rapidly approaching the turning point to keep global warming within 2.7 Fahrenheit — or 1.5 degrees Celsius — the temperature variance where scientists say that the impact on our planet will become catastrophic. According to an article in The New York Times, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report on Monday revealing that serious effects will be felt across the globe once temperatures rise by 2.7 degrees. This could happen as soon as 2040 if we don’t reduce greenhouse pollution.

Scientists like Bill Hare — who authored a previous report from the IPCC — say that this news is a “shock, and quite concerning,” given that past reports have estimated that temperatures would need to climb 3.6 degrees for those cataclysmic effects to begin occurring.

Once the planet reaches said threshold, scientists believe that we will see worsening food shortages, more deadly heat waves, higher sea levels, a mass die-off of coral reefs, and increasingly frequent wildfires. To halt the progress of climbing temperatures, the report says that by 2030 we must reduce greenhouse pollution by 45 percent from levels produced as of 2010. The report also found that if governments fail to act, it could mean that we would not only meet, but overshoot 3.6 degrees in warming. If that were to happen, many of the effects of global warming could be permanent.

The current political climate in the US makes it all but certain that the country won’t take the necessary steps to slow climate change by 2030. President Trump has promised to increase the use of coal and intends to pull out of the Paris agreement — the historic agreement signed by nearly every country on the planet in an effort to collectively address climate change.

“We will unlock job producing natural gas, oil and shale energy. We will produce American coal to power American industry,” Trump told the EPA in a speech in 2017.

Warming has already increased the global temperature by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 1 degree Celcius, putting us near the halfway mark to catastrophic warming.

“This is concerning because we know there are so many more problems if we exceed 1.5 degrees celsius global warming, including more heat waves and hot summers, greater sea level rise, and, for many parts of the world, worse droughts and rainfall extremes,” scientist Andrew King said.

The report suggests that governments will need to implement measures — particularly a carbon tax — to stop the increase if we want to reach the goal of reducing emissions by 2030.

“A price on carbon is central to prompt mitigation,” the report concluded.