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Climate Change - IPCC Report 2018

The IPCC is an intergovernmental body of the UN (United Nations), that is tasked with providing an objective, scientific view of climate change. This includes its potential political, social, and economic impacts across the world. The IPCC itself does not carry out any research into climate change, nor does it actively monitor the climate. Instead it independently assesses published literature (articles, reports, research papers, etc.) including peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed sources.

The IPCC is viewed internationally among scientific and political communities as the accepted authority on climate change, producing reports which are agreed upon by leading climate scientists and the consensus of participating governments. The body has gained recognition in the form of winning the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize alongside Al Gore “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”. Al Gore is recognised in the mainstream for his climate change campaigning and his related climate change documentary films; 2006s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and 2017s ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power’.

Behind the scientific facade of the lengthy title of the report lies a stark warning for governments’ the world over, regarding their actions (or lack of) to combat global warming, and hints at what may result from carbon reduction targets not being met in the near future. It is highlighted in the report that it is critical to actively address the threat of human-accelerated climate change, with the following key points to be taken from the report:

  • 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 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050.

  • Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to reach ‘net zero’ around 2050, meaning that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

  • "Some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5ºC are already underway around the world, but they would need to be accelerated” Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair WGI.

  • “Limiting warming to 1.5ºC is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes.” - Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

Governments previously believed the Paris agreement target to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels; and to limit the increase to 1.5 °C, would be achievable, but following this 2018 report it is written that those previous targets are rapidly getting harder to achieve each month and year that passes.

This report alongside the revelation of President Trump’s withdrawal of America from the Paris agreement, and Brazil’s recently-elected president’s threat to do the same, paints a highly challenging and uncertain picture for the future. The only certainty is that great change is needed across all social aspects of civilisation: governmentally, nationally, locally, and individually.

Following such a damning report on a critical and international issue and the rise of public interest in the issue of human pollution (predominantly single-use plastics) and climate change, many wonder how to combat and reduce their own carbon footprint. Newell Legal will follow-up with future pieces, looking at the broader options for reducing one's carbon footprint and tackling climate change at: individual, company, and national levels.

Take a look at the following websites below for more information:

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