A report involving WA scientists to help governments around the world tackle climate change will be presented at a public conference at The University of Western Australia on Thursday 1 November.
Compiled by more than 90 researchers across 40 countries, including WA researchers from The University of Western Australia, Curtin University and Murdoch University, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C examines the impact of global warming and possible solutions. It was prepared in response to a request from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015.
Dr Neville Ellis, UWA Research Fellow and contributor to the report, said the report examined the impact of global warming of 1.5°C, and ways of addressing it in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
“The world has already warmed by about one degree since pre-industrial times and it is clear that human actions are the cause,” Dr Ellis said.
“Already the impact of climate change is concerning. We are seeing more extreme weather events, rising sea levels, diminishing Arctic sea ice, as well as a range of adverse impacts on people and ecosystems around the world, affecting particularly the most poor and vulnerable.”
Dr Ellis said it was imperative that governments and policy makers looked at the key issues outlined in the report and worked together quickly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“If we are able to limit global warming to 1.5°C then we have a much greater chance of limiting the worst impacts of climate change” he said. “Beyond 1.5°C, things become much more difficult and dangerous. For instance, at 2°C it is highly likely that we lose all of our tropical coral reefs, and that floods, droughts and heatwaves will become much more extreme. Decisive action is needed now to avoid this.”
Dr Ellis said to limit global warming to 1.5°C, carbon dioxide emissions would need to be reduced to near zero by 2050, which was a mammoth task.
“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C is not impossible, but it would require unprecedented actions to be taken. Currently, we are on track for an extra 3-4°C of warming by the end of the century. This would be catastrophic. While we are starting to see movement in the right direction, much more is needed to reduce emissions across all sectors, including energy, agriculture, transport, buildings and others,” he said.
“This IPCC Special Report is historic, as it outlines to governments the major opportunities and challenges we all face to meet the aspirations set out in the Paris Agreement. Having so many WA contributors is fantastic and testament to the strength of the research and expertise coming out of WA.”
The conference is open to the public with no charge to attend but registration is essential.