Global warming’s detrimental impacts like heat waves and rise in sea level are mounting and a “radical transition” to a greener economy is needed, a study presented at UN climate talks said on Tuesday.
Even if average temperatures had risen only by 0.85°C above pre-industrial times, which is less than 50% of 2°C set as a maximum acceptable rise by more than 200 nations, damage is still being wrought, the study speculated.
“Negative impacts are not only something in the future, they are something now,” Zou Jin said, co-leader of the UN review consultations regarding science policy for the UN climate deal in Paris this December.
The report, based on dialogue between governments and experts, was presented the spinoff of the Paris accord on June 1 to 11 talks, happening in Bonn, Germany. Those present at the report presentation said a government’s pledge to curb greenhouse gas emissions is too fragile to stay below the 2°C aim.
“Limiting global warming to below 2°C necessitates a radical transition, not merely a fine tuning of current trends,” the report quoted.
Such a transition mean decrease in greenhouse gases, to shift from fossil fuels like coal and oil to renewable energies like hydro, wind, and solar power, the report said, concluding that the 2°C aim was too often erroneously viewed as an adequate maximum.
But the impacts of climate change, such as damage to coral reefs or the melting of Greenland’s ice that is raising sea levels, showed risks were already increasing.
The delegates were told that, “the elephant in the room is what we can do to change the trend in emission,” by a senior Swiss scientist, Thomas Stocker, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the climate science advisory body to the UN, said governments faced tough choices in managing the risks of warming.