Keeping global warming rise at 2ºC menaces planet ecosystems and UN Sustainable Development Goals achievement, says IPCC report

In case the global warming goal is kept at 2ºC temperature rise, by 2100 the global sea level would rise 10 cm higher with devastating effects in some coastal regions and 99% coral reefs would die. Impacts of these kind in some ecosystems would make it more difficult to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Those are some of the outcomes of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC, which was approved by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) on Saturday in Incheon (Republic of Korea).

Source of the graphic: Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC. Composition © Eastwind.

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said Priyardarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

Source of the graphic: Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC. Composition © Eastwind.

The IPCC is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies. It has 195 member states.

CO2 emmissions caused by humans need a 45% cut on 2010 levels by 2030

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching”transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

The 1.5ºC warming limit would avoid some climate change effects

The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2ºC.

Iceberg, global warming effects. Photo by Dann8977 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons. To watch the original file click here

“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5ºC or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

Key imput for the Katowice Climate Change Conference to be held next December

Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Source of the graphic: Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC. Composition © Eastwind.

“Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty”, this is the full name of the document approved by the IPCC las Saturday, will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

“With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.

Image over the headline.- A variety of corals form an outcrop on Flynn Reef, part of the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Photo by Toby Hudson [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], from Wikimedia Commons. To watch the original image, click here

Related external links:

IPCC Global Warming of 1.5ºC Report

Animation: What is the IPCC?

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