The world may warm by 1.5 degrees Celsius by the early 2030s, a climate change expert from The Australian National University (ANU) warns.
Professor Mark Howden is a Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a contributing author to its Sixth Assessment Report , released today and which makes clear that global temperatures are on the rise.
The Director of the ANU Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions said the global temperature increases could climb as high as 5.7 degrees Celsius this century.
“The more we know about climate change, the more we should be concerned,” Professor Howden said.
“This report is another clear and loud alarm bell.
“It makes clear the impacts of climate change are accumulating almost every day; we’re already seeing worsening temperature extremes such as marine heatwaves that cause coral bleaching and heatwaves on land with dangerous consequences for human health.
“If we don’t start to reduce our emissions significantly before 2050, the world is extremely likely to exceed 2 degrees Celsius of warming during the 21st century.
“Reducing emissions from the 2020s onwards and reaching net zero before the 2050s is really our best chance at keeping temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius.”
Professor Howden said some of the worst impacts from the predicted rise in global temperature would be felt in the Pacific.
“This includes dramatic and devastating sea level rise,” he said.
“This impending sea level rise will create compound events with other climate factors. For example, although the Pacific is projected to generally face fewer cyclones under future warming, they are likely to become more intense.
“These conditions will worsen already deadly storm surge events in countries like Fiji and Vanuatu.
“And despite a projected increase in rainfall with future climate change in the equatorial Pacific, many locations will likely face greater water scarcity due to saltwater intrusion from rising seas and higher rates of potential evaporation due to increased temperatures.”
According to Professor Howden, the new IPCC report confirms it is not possible to achieve the low level of warming aimed for in the Paris Agreement unless we stop emitting high levels of greenhouse gases.
“Fortunately, there are many emerging opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Professor Howden said.
“This includes transitioning to 100 per cent renewable energy as rapidly as possible, decarbonising transport, reducing emissions from agriculture, and drawing down and storing atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions.”
Top image: Professor Mark Howden. Photo: Lannon Harley/ANU
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