Scientists call for urgent action to limit climate change

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The dramatic report warned that the planet is now heading to warm by 3C - and to slash that to less than 1.5C as laid out in the Paris agreement will require "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society".

The report highlighted a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels in comparison to 2 degrees Celsius or higher.

World governments requested the report be prepared after the Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 to combat climate change.

The world is failing in its effort to avert catastrophic climate change, a United Nations panel warned Monday, and the result will be more deaths and climate refugees due to extreme weather and rising seas, a greater rate of species extinction, and reduced economic growth.

In the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C report, the IPCC said that governments around the world must take "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" to avoid disastrous levels of global warming, CNN reported.

By the decade 2006-2015, 20 to 40 per cent of the global population had already experienced warming of 1.5°C in at least one season.

That means trying to limit the increase in the average global ground temperature to 1.5 degrees C, rather than 2 C as specified in the Paris climate change accord.

"Climate impacts are exponentially more dramatic when we go from 1.5C to 2C", said Henri Waisman, a scientist at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, and a coordinating lead author of the IPCC report.

"Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5 °C 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.

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Areas like sub-Saharan Africa and the Mediterranean would still suffer from droughts, but farms would be able to grow more food than they could with 2 degrees of warming.

"Even at a little over 1.0°C warming, India is being battered by the worst climate extremes - it is clear that the situation at 1.5°C is going to worsen".

While warming of 2C above pre-industrial levels has widely been thought of as the threshold beyond which unsafe climate change will occur, vulnerable countries such as low-lying island states warn rises above 1.5C will threaten their survival. Jim Skea is the co-chair of the IPCC Working Group, and he's a professor at Imperial College London.

These carbon dioxide scrubbing techniques would be particularly vital if the global temperature were to briefly peak above 1.5°C before being wrestled back down below the target by the end of the century.

"The world is already witnessing the impacts of climate change - from hurricanes in America, heat waves in Europe, droughts in Africa to floods in Asia". There will also be two more special reports on oceans and land use next year. It encompasses 195 member states and is tasked with assessing science related to climate change and providing guidelines for policy makers.

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The recommendations could offer scientific guidance to policymakers on how to reduce emissions from sectors like electricity, transport, buildings and agriculture to not exceed global temperature rise of more than 1.5 degrees from pre-industrial levels.

"The construction and property industry in the United Kingdom is an economic juggernaut, and our buildings account for approximately 30 per cent of carbon emissions".