Climate change: Why it's not too big - and not too late

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The findings of this new report are terrifying, to say the least, and if we do not act quickly to try and reverse some of the effects of climate change we could very well all be staring in the reality of a disaster movie.

The influential report reveals that only by keeping the temperature rise under 1.5C above pre-industrial levels will "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" be prevented. The report was prepared by 91 authors and editors from 40 countries in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Already, the global temperature - averaged between land and sea temperatures - has risen 1° Celsius, or 1.8° Fahrenheit, since 1880.

"The more warming that we cause, the broader and more intense are the impacts in general", said University of New Mexico Earth and Planetary Sciences Professor David Gutzler, in summing up the main message of the report. "It was given to me", Trump said of the report.

"According to numerous studies, climate change is making some events, like heat waves and heavy downpours, more intense and more likely to occur". It's up to world leaders who meet later this year to try understand all that's being said, such as the work of the year's two Nobel economics laureates suggesting ways to fight global warming, including a universal carbon tax.

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It warns that the world is rapidly running out of time before catastrophic effects on the planet take place.

The Los Angeles Times put it this way: "The report serves as a stark reminder of President Trump's status as a global outlier in terms of climate change". Together, higher temperatures and precipitation changes will decrease soil moisture and increase drought.

"We have a monumental task in front of us, but it is not impossible", Mahowald said Sunday. Annual carbon dioxide pollution levels that are still rising now would have to drop by about half by 2030 and then be near zero by 2050. The report also stated that 70-85 percent of energy needs to be supplied by renewable sources by 2050 to stay at the 1.5C target - right now, renewable energy accounts for about 25 percent.

Following a United Nations report on Monday that concluded world leaders have only two decades to end emissions of greenhouse gases or suffer catastrophic climate change, the European Union took just 13 hours to announce plans to cut emissions from cars and trucks a further 35 percent by 2030.

But meeting the more ambitious goal of slightly less warming would require immediate, draconian cuts in emissions of heat-trapping gases and dramatic changes in the energy field. "Governments must increase climate action now and submit more ambitious plans for the future".

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The letter said that since the European Union budget funds programmes for energy, transport, agriculture, buildings, waste and worldwide cooperation, it has "great potential" to support action on climate change.

The implications of what the near future holds for these countries, which are already dealing with climate adaptation challenges, demand concerted action, both locally and internationally.

Now that we're through the breathlessness of the Supreme Court confirmation hearings, perhaps one of those adults in the room could put a pictorial summary of what this report says is happening on the president's desk.

The report is part of the Paris climate accord process.

"One way we're each experiencing climate change today is in the form of extreme weather", writes Axios' Andrew Freedman in "Cheat sheet: How climate change affects our weather".

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