“Even at a little over 1.0°C warming, India is being battered by the worst climate extremes – it is clear that the situation at 1.5°C is going to worsen. The new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has served us a final warning that we must get our act together — now and quickly,” says Sunita Narain, director general, CSE, in response to the release of the Panel’s latest study.
The IPCC, the biggest scientific body feeding climate science to policy-makers, released today its Special Report on impacts of global warming at 1.5°C; the report documents glaring evidence of the devastating impacts of climate change on the poor and on developing countries.
Says Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of CSE and head of its climate change unit: “The report makes it clear that the impact of 1.5°C warming is greater than what was anticipated earlier. Accordingly, the world would witness greater sea level rise, increased precipitation and higher frequency of droughts and floods, hotter days and heatwaves, more intense tropical cyclones, and increased ocean acidification and salinity. Countries like India, with large populations dependent on the agricultural and fishery sectors, would be highly impacted.”
While a 1.5°C rise in global temperatures will be precarious, a 2°C rise would be catastrophic. The report points out that the risk transition from 1.5°C to 2°C is very high and that the effects at 2°C will be more devastating than what IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report had indicated. Coastal nations and agricultural economies like India would be the worst affected. Decline in crop yields, unprecedented climate extremes and increased susceptibility could push poverty by several million by 2050.
Considering the grim warning of the IPCC Report, CSE has appealed to the world to focus exclusively on limiting warming to 1.5°C instead of 2°C, which is the upper limit of the temperature goal mentioned under Paris Agreement.
Says Bhushan: “The world cannot afford a warming of 2°C above the pre-industrial era. A 2°C warmer world will devastate economies and ecosystems and push hundreds of millions of people back into poverty. The goal of climate change now must be firmly fixed to 1.5°C to give the communities and nations a fighting chance to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. India must take the lead in creating a global coalition in this endeavor.”