Scientists: More Stringent Global Warming Target Will Save Lives, Economies

Mos Antenor, 42, drives a bulldozer while clearing the road after Hurricane Dorian Mclean’s Town, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

(CN) – Fierce cyclones and the die-off of coral reefs and forests are in store for Earth if the yearly rate of global warming is not kept below 2 degrees Celsius, according to a review published Thursday of a United Nations panel report.

Curbing global warming by just half a degree would save large swaths of Arctic summer sea ice alone and largely benefit the human race along with all other life, according to climate scientist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and his peers, who reviewed the 2018 study published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The difference between a 1.5 degree rise and 2 degree rise in pre-industrial levels are exponentially greater than most people can possibly imagine, the scientists said. If by the year 2100 the planet heats up by 2 degrees every year versus 1.5 degrees, global sea rise would be about 4 inches higher and it’s the difference between an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice every century versus once a decade, according to the review.

The latest findings by the review of the panel’s report say intense cyclones are more likely to occur and would be accompanied by more rainfall and more damage from the extreme weather. Late last month, Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas and was regarded as the most powerful cyclone to ever hit the Caribbean region, with sustained winds of 185 mph and stalling north of Grand Bahama for 24 hours.

Scientists say it’s crucial for humans to hit the 1.5 degree target cap in the next decade or see disastrous consequences that far outweigh any costly changes to a nation’s infrastructure.

“Aiming to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is now a human imperative if escalating risks of dangerous if not catastrophic tipping points and climate change hotspots are to be avoided,” the authors say in a statement.

Meanwhile, a separate group of scientists will lead a commission to develop tangible science-based targets for cities and companies to reduce their footprint. The international team is part of a network of organizations that want to transform economic systems, according to the organization Future Earth, a 10-year research program founded in 2015.

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