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  • Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, droughts are more frequent, extreme weather

  • events more common-- This is climate change in action, and you've heard it all before.

  • But a major report just came out that looks at how close we are to this irreversible damage,

  • and it's looking bad.

  • Real bad.

  • Back in 2015, the world's leaders came together to solidify a plan to combat climate change.

  • The resulting Paris Agreement set a goal to holdthe increase of global average temperature

  • to well below 2 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levelsand added the intent oflimiting

  • the temperature increase to 1.5°C. But now, in October of 2018, the UN Intergovernmental

  • Panel on Climate Change, or the IPCC, compiled the results of over 6,000 scientific studies

  • and released a new report.

  • The main takeaway?

  • At our current rate, global average temperature is likely to rise 1.5°C between as early

  • as 2030.This means, we only have 12 years to make drastic changes, or we'll miss our

  • target.

  • The difference between 1.5 and 2 may seem small, and and it's hard to imagine how

  • half a degree could make much of an impact.

  • But using climate models, scientists can predict what that half a degree actually means for

  • our planet.

  • And, well, it means a lot.

  • First there's the arctic.

  • At 1.5 degrees warming, arctic sea ice will still last through most summers, but at 2

  • degrees, ice-free summers become 10 times more likely.

  • This would not only be devastating for arctic wildlife, but would reduce the albedo, or

  • the amount of light being reflected away from earth, causing even more warming.

  • Ice melt coupled with rising temperatures means sea level rise.

  • At 1.5 degrees warming, average sea level rise could be somewhere between 26 and 77

  • centimeters.

  • At 2 degrees, that range could go up a whole 10 centimeters.

  • That change could expose about 10 million more people to harmful flooding than if warming

  • stays at 1.5.

  • A warmer world also means that fresh water will become even more scarce.

  • At 1.5 degrees, severe drought will likely affect 350 million people, but at 2 degrees,

  • that number grows to about 411 million people.

  • Heatwaves get worse, too.

  • At 1.5 degrees, about 14% of the world's population will be exposed to severe heat

  • waves, and at 2 degrees that number more than doubles, raising to a whopping 37%.

  • Then, there's the coral reefs.

  • At 1.5 degrees warming, 70-90% of coral reefs die.

  • At 2 degrees, that number grows to greater than 99%, meaning virtually all coral reefs

  • will disappear.

  • This would be devastating to marine biodiversity and affect nearly 500 million people who rely

  • on them for storm protection, food, jobs and recreation.

  • If none of this phases you, a separate study published in Nature looked into how many people

  • could die from that half degree rise.

  • They found that due to air pollution alone, an additional 150 million people could die

  • if we hit 2 degrees.

  • And that's not even including the likely deaths by heat wave, drought, and famine.

  • So what can we do?

  • Well, the report makes it clear that the pledges made in the Paris Agreement will not be enough.

  • It not only states that these goals won't keep us under the 1.5 degree mark, but that

  • they could result in a warming of THREE DEGREES by 2100.

  • A whole degree higher than what the world decided should be an upper threshold.

  • To prevent this, the report states that we have to drastically reduce CO2 emissions well

  • before 2030, and at faster rate than we ever have before.

  • And while highly unlikely, scientists are stressing that keeping warming to 1.5 degrees

  • is still possible.

  • Projections suggest it would require CO2 emissions to take a nosedive and then operate in the

  • negatives towards the end of the century.

  • While there's no definitive plan yet, it would likely involve steep, across the board

  • investment in renewables, the electrification of huge energy sectors that currently run

  • on fossil fuels, and rapid advances in negative emission technologies that can suck carbon

  • out of the air.

  • Among other things-- like a carbon tax, a world-wide reduction in meat consumption,

  • a decline in population growth, and maximized global energy efficiency.

  • So yeah, it will take quite literally everything we've got, but it's possible.

  • So what do you think, can we do it?

  • Negative emission technologies could be a big player in our fight against climate change,

  • but how feasible are they?

  • We've got a video coming about about that soon.

  • And to stay up to date with all the latest climate news, make sure to subscribe.

  • Thanks for watching Seeker.

Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, droughts are more frequent, extreme weather

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Why a Half Degree Rise in Global Temperature Would Be Catastrophic

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    joey joey posted on 2021/04/18
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