UN Report Says ‘Unprecedented Changes’ Are Needed to Protect Earth From Global Warming

A landmark report released Sunday from the world’s top climate change group said “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” are required to ward off the worst impacts of global warming.

The report, released in South Korea by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said that the world’s economies must quickly reduce fossil fuel use while at the same time dramatically increasing use of clean, efficient energy. These transitions must start now and be well underway in the next 20 years.

The goal is to cap global warming at 1.5 Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, which the group said may prove nearly impossible unless swift action is taken.

Limiting warming to that level would significantly reduce the risk of climate impacts such as water scarcity, flood and drought, extreme heat, tropical cyclones, biodiversity loss, and sea level rise, the report stated.

Global warming, aka climate change, is caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal that release greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, which has warmed the planet to levels that cannot be explained by natural causes.

This report shows the longer we wait, “the more difficult, the more expensive and the more dangerous it will be,” said Bill Hare, a physicist with the nonprofit group Climate Analytics.

World governments requested the report be prepared after the Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 to combat climate change. Nations agreed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in order to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and aim to limit the increase to 1.5 Celsius.

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Source: USA Today