IPCC Draft Report on Global Warming

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A recent Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) draft report on climate change response draws global attention.

What is the report on?

  • The report comes on the direction of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015.
  • Accordingly, IPCC was asked to prepare a special report by 2018.
  • This would be on the impact if the planet grew hotter by 1.5°C over the global average surface temperatures between 1850 and 1900.

What are the highlights?

  • The basic message is that the world is not doing enough to keep the planet from heating up excessively.
  • If the emissions continue at the present rate, global warming will exceed by 1.5°C over the reference period by around 2040.
  • The current measures such as rise of renewable energy and electric vehicles are just not enough.
  • The inevitable consequences will be more
  1. floods and droughts
  2. forest fires
  3. islands losing ground to rising sea waters
  4. water scarcity
  5. vector-borne diseases
  • This reiterates what the UN Environment Programme has been emphasizing in its annual Emission Gap Reports.
  • In 2016 report, it said that even if countries stick to their Paris deal commitments, the target would not be met.

What are the concerns and challenges ahead?

  • Paris deal – At Paris in 2015, all countries agreed to limit global warming to 2°C by the turn of this century.
  • This aside, they also agreed on an ambitious goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
  • But the Agreement is loosely-worded, and leaves everything to voluntary action with no penal provisions.
  • US – The United States has recently pulled out of the Paris accord.
  • It has also begun to support coal, a fuel chiefly responsible for the climate change.
  • Further, the US has slashed its contribution to the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
  • Resultantly, developed countries’ funding to GEF has come down by $300 million.
  • Notably, GEF is a big funder of climate projects in developing countries.
  • Australia – Australia is also following the US’s example.
  • It has also said that coal would have an important role in the country’s energy mix.
  • Coal – With US and Australia backing coal, poor countries like Indonesia are taking the opportunity.
  • Having seen good returns in exporting coal over the last decade, it wants to do more.
  • The situation is likely to worsen with the development of a new Russia-funded railway.
  • The railway will open up new areas of Kalimantan (Indonesian part of Borneo island) for coal.
  • Banks are also not doing enough to restrict funding for coal projects.
  • Deforestation – According to Stockholm Environment Institute, permits for mining cover 6.3 million hectares of Conservation Forest and Protected Forest areas.
  • In 2017, the tropics lost nearly 16 million hectares (size of Bangladesh) to deforestation.
  • Measures – A recent International Energy Agency report looked at 35 areas requiring action, to be consistent with the 2°C goal.
  • Out of the 35, only four were on the right track and these are solar PV, LED, e-vehicles and data centres.
  • The IPCC report comes as a wake up call for nations to relook and reassess the climate strategies.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

  • This is an intergovernmental body under the UN
  • It is a scientific body
  • Formed in 1988 by WMO (World Meteorological Organisation) and UNEP
  • It produces report based on scientific developments across the world.
  • The IPCC does not carry out its own original research, nor does it do the work of monitoring climate or related phenomena itself. The IPCC bases its assessment on the published literature
  • IPCC has so far produced five assessment reports, the latest one was published in 2014. It said that India’s high vulnerability and exposure to climate change will slow its economic growth, impact health and development, make poverty reduction more difficult and erode food security
  • It was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2007
  • IPCC functions under UNFCC
  • The aims of the IPCC are to assess scientific information relevant to :
    • Human-induced climate change,
    • The impacts of human-induced climate change,
    • Options for adaptation and mitigation.

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