UN and EU urge world to limit global warming to 1.5°C

© European Union, 2018/Source: EC - Audiovisual Service/Photo: Benas Gerdziunas/File picture

Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete in Brussels.

IPCC report shows impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.


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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its Special Report on October 8 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways.

EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and Research, Science and Innovation Commissioner Carlos Moedas welcomed the report by the UN body, which provides policy-makers across the globe with a strong scientific basis for their efforts to modernise the economy, tackle climate change, promote sustainable development and eradicate poverty.

Issued two months before the international climate talks in Katowice, Poland, the report provides a timely input for the Commission’s proposal for a strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reductions, to be presented in November, the EC said on October 8.

“The EU has been at the forefront of addressing the root causes of climate change and strengthening a concerted global response to it in the framework of the Paris Agreement,” Cañete and Moedas said in a joint statement. “Today’s report is a remarkable endeavour of scientists to inform policy-makers worldwide and society at large. EU-funded research provided indispensable input to this undertaking. We would like to thank the scientists for their outstanding work in delivering this timely report,” they added.

“Three years ago, when 195 countries adopted the Paris Agreement, we asked the IPCC to tell us what action was needed for the world to limit global warming to 1.5°C, and what might happen if the world would fail to do so. Science has now given us the answer and it is a clear one: the Special Report confirms that limiting climate change to 1.5°C is necessary to avoid the worst impacts and reduce the likelihood of extreme weather events,” the Commission said, adding that the report demonstrates that human-induced global warming has already reached 1°C above preindustrial levels and is increasing at approximately 0.2°C per decade. “The impacts of global warming are already transforming our environment and trend changes have been detected in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. The EU will work to address those challenges and expects others to follow. All parties must step up efforts from the pledges made under the Paris Agreement,” the Commission said.

The report shows that 1.5°C is doable, provided we act now and use every tool at our disposal. In December countries will gather at the UN Climate summit (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, to assess progress towards our global climate goals. :The world will need to raise the collective ambition, we need to deliver on our goals, and we need to start preparing to achieve a carbon neutral economy as soon as possible this century. This is the message we will take to Katowice,” the Commission said.

Taking the valuable input from the Report into account, the Commission will work to present in November an EU strategy for long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction. It will be a comprehensive vision for the modernisation of our economy, our industries, and our financial sector. “The EU will work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in-line with the Paris Agreement, and to make our economy more modern, innovative, competitive and resilient. In short, as there is no planet B, saving our planet Earth should be our number one mission. To this end, research and Innovation will play a crucial role in our efforts to tackle climate change and the EU will continue to lead in that domain. We have put climate at the heart of our proposal for Horizon Europe, the new EU’s research and innovation program,” the Commission said. “We propose to invest 35% of the program to climate objectives, through the development of innovative and cost-effective zero-carbon solutions. We must raise our ambitions in combating climate change in line with the outcome of this report, and turn today’s challenges into opportunities.”

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