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IPCC calls for more ambitious 1.5-degree warming target

Oct 09,2018
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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chair Lee Hoe-sung, second from left, speaks during a press conference at the IPCC’s 48th session in Incheon on Monday. [NEWS1]
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an international environmental body under the auspices of the United Nations, released an alarming report on global warming on Monday, setting a more ambitious goal to prevent a rise in the Earth’s temperature.

The agency called for the rise in the Earth’s surface temperature from pre-industrial levels to remain below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) instead of the 2 degrees Celsius target agreed to at the Paris Agreement talks in 2015.

The group announced its special report after a meeting in Incheon on Monday and the 195 member countries unanimously agreed to adopt it.

The more ambitious target could bring beneficial effects to marine diversity and the wider ecosystem, according to the IPCC.

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2ºC is projected to reduce increases in ocean temperature as well as associated increases in ocean acidity and decreases in ocean oxygen levels,” the IPCC said in the Summary for Policymakers of the special report.

“Consequently, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is projected to reduce risks to marine biodiversity, fisheries, and ecosystems, and their functions and services to humans, as illustrated by recent changes to Arctic sea ice and warm water coral reef ecosystems,” it said.

To achieve the goal, carbon emissions would need to be cut by 45 percent by 2030 from 2010 levels and reach “net zero” - where all emissions are offset by carbon credits - by around 2050.

Greenhouse gas was not the sole factor mentioned in the report, which also cited the need for “deep reductions in emissions of methane and black carbon.”

The IPCC also outlined the importance of expanding the share of renewable energy.

The change in the target rate came as global warming is taking place at a faster-than-expected pace, the report said.

“Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C,” the report said.

“Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.”

After holding a press briefing on the report, the IPCC opened a panel discussion on Monday to discuss whether the new goal is feasible.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]