Saudi Arabia blocks United Nations oceans report over 1.5C global warming cap

Thursday, 26 Sep, 2019

The tool is based on latest synthesis report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on how quantities of carbon dioxide emissions from human activities relate to global warming.

In a major new report on how climate change is affecting the ocean and the frozen parts of the earth the IPCC says if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase strongly, sea levels could rise by over 1m by the end of the century.

Many fish, corals and other marine life are suffering in ever warmer waters, with more frequent underwater heatwaves, acidification caused by man-made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and a decline in levels of oxygen, the world's leading climate scientists said.

The widespread loss of ice and snow could lead to water shortages, affect food security, intensify droughts and contribute to the spread of wildfires, the IPCC said. Event with urgent action to stem emissions sea levels may rise as much as a meter on average by the end of the century; if climate change is left unaddressed sea levels could rise several more meters, especially if Antarctic ice sheets collapse.

The report was published two days after leaders failed to match UN secretary general Antonio Guterres' call for nations to cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 45% below 2010 levels by 2030 at a summit in NY.

The report says the global climate is warming quicker than originally forecast and more drastic plans are needed to prevent a cataclysmic rise in global temperatures by the year 2100.

And for the first time, the worldwide team of scientists is projecting that "some island nations are likely to become uninhabitable due to climate-related ocean and cryosphere change".

"We will only be able to keep global warming to well below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels if we effect unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society, including energy, land and ecosystems, urban and infrastructure as well as industry", Debra Roberts, co-chair of the IPCC Working Group II, said in a statement.

It says extreme sea level events that occurred once every hundred years in the past will occur once every year, such as high tides and intense storms.

The SROCC report is the fourth in a series of United Nations reports on the effects of the climate crisis. It reviews the science related to climate change and its impacts on the future to help policymakers and world leaders prepare to act on climate change and its spinoff effects.

The IPCC special report was approved on September 24 by 195 IPCC member governments.

The report said two indicators - ice melt in the Arctic and Antarctica - have seen significant change.

More than 100 scientists from around the world have assessed the latest science about the role of climate change on ocean, coastal, polar and mountain systems, and the human communities that depend on them.

However, from May 2014 to 2019 the rise has increased to 5 millimetres per year.

The oceans have become slightly more acidic, but that will accelerate with warming.

The IPCC increased its projected end-of-century sea level rise in the worst-case scenario by almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) from its 2013 projections because of the increased recent melting of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.

One of the most shocking findings involves "marine heat waves", which have been blamed for mass deaths of corals, kelp forests and other key ocean organisms.

Scientists from The University of Manchester and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research have developed an online tool which is now being used by local authorities including Manchester to understand their role in meeting the climate change objectives set by the UN.

He added: "When I look at the enormity of the challenge we face, the worsening scientific picture, the risks we are taking with our children's future, I am saddened and angry an opportunity to deliver real transformative change has been passed up".