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Understanding 1.5°C: The IPCC’s Forthcoming Special Report

Understanding 1.5°C: The IPCC’s Forthcoming Special Report

Rachel Licker

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – an international body that develops non-policy prescriptive climate science assessments for decisionmakers – is currently compiling a Special Report that will provide information on what it would take to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The report will also assess the climate impacts that could be avoided by keeping warming to this level, and the ways we can limit the worst impacts of climate change and adapt to the ones that are unavoidable.

These scientists, dedicating themselves to the preservation of the quality of life on earth in numerous forms are heroes. No, they don’t pull down enormous salaries and for the most part their names remain obscure. They help define what I consider to be true morality–service to a cause much greater and longer-lived than themselves. As an environmental hydrologist, I understand the physics, chemistry, and biological drivers of climate change. If you are not a scientist, I urge you to learn just a little something so that you may truly understand a component. I suggest starting with the concept of greenhouse gases, of course. Google energy balance, short- and long-wave radiation, adsorption of water vapor, carbon dioxide, & methane, albedo, etc. Make it fun for you, your friends and family. Find a local expert to help you along. We must stem the “I am not a scientist, so I don’t believe…” meme. Even if you are not a scientist, you can understand the basics. Please note the two words I am contrasting: belief and understanding (which can include trusting the scientific process once you understand that). The belief meme is a weapon of war for the greedy short-sided, who care for nothing but their position. Understanding is the essence of The Enlightenment. Let’s glow with knowledge and not unnecessary climatic chaos. Peace.

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It should be interesting to see what they say is needed to stay under 1.5C. I think it will turn out be to widely regarded as not feasible. It will probably require emissions reductions in the order to twice as fast that those required to stay under 2C. So far countries have made pledges that would limit warming to about 3.5C, without including positive feedbacks, and the US is withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. It seems unlikely that this new report will accomplish anymore than all the previous reports. We have great reports but little to show for it.

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Good statement. My only criticism is Google should not be used as a verb and searching for the terms using DuckDuckGo will provide similar information but without the tracking to sell the data to advertisers.

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I agree. The keep it under 1.5 degrees C ship has sailed and is now lost at sea. I appreciate all the efforts of these scientists, but as long as the world’s economy runs on unregulated or lightly regulated capitalism and as long as climate agreements remain voluntary with no enforcement provisions, global warming will proceed, unhindered. If the countries of the world are going to continue to meet to discuss global warming, the focus should now be on how to survive it or, at least prolong our existence, since it is a very real possibility that our species will not survive.

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Tread softly on this earth but move north. And away from shorelines…

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The “enlightenment” is a romantics rewrite of history. We are, by most measures, still in the dark ages, some measures are even worse. Indigenous cultures never had ‘dark ages’
Scientists created the nuclear bomb, and all manner of poisonous and destructive inventions.

“People today forgotten they are really just a part of nature. Yet, they destroy the nature on which our lives depend. They always think they can make something better. Especially scientists. They may be smart, but most do not understand the heart of nature. They only invent things that in the end make people unhappy. Yet, they are so proud of their inventions. What is worse, most people are, too. They view them as if they were miracles. They worship them. They do not know it, but they are losing nature. They do not see that they are going to perish. The most important things for human beings are clean air and clean water and trees and gras that prodice them. Everything is being dirtied. Polluted forever. Dirty air, dirty water, dirtying the heart of men.”

AKIRA KUROSAWA —Village of the Waterwheels

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Nice polemic, but they were but a small representative. The foundation for the oil and gas age was laid in the bronze age.

I can hardly wait for the UN report on saving the dodo.

What a bunch of assholes our great leaders are.