Planet has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn

Climate change: Unprecedented action is required to curb temperature rise, says UN panel report

It also highlighted the environment has already seent he consequences of 1ºC of global warming in the form of more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic Sea ice, among other changes.

"The next few years are probably the most important in human history", IPCC co-chair Debra Roberts, head of the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department in South Africa, told Agence France-Presse.

But turning over much more land for energy production "could have implications for food security, ecosystems and biodiversity", the British scientist warned, as competition for land grows.

The IPCC study, which took almost three years to complete and involved 91 authors from 40 countries, is the first to look in detail at the 1.5 deg C limit, which is one of the goals in the 2015 UN Paris Climate Agreement.

Well, it will require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented change across the whole of society, according to the report. Temperatures would be 1.5C higher between 2030 and 2052 if the world continued at its current pace, it warned.

A critical step is to ensure human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) will fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching "net zero" around 2050.

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If the average global temperature temporarily exceeded 1.5C, additional carbon removal techniques would be required to return warming to below 1.5C by 2100.

Professor Corinne Le Quere, from the University of East Anglia, said: "For the United Kingdom, this means a rapid switch to renewable energy and electric cars, insulating our homes, planting trees, where possible walking or cycling and eating well - more plants and less meat - and developing an industry to capture carbon and store it underground".

"Every 10 years, climate scientists say we have 10 years left to save the planet", Mr. Heller said. "This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing Carbon dioxide from the air", it says.

The new report has examined what will happen if the world warms by just 1.5 degrees, and it doesn't look good.

"We need to extend this kind of progress on renewables to other areas".

The report drew dire headlines such as CNN's "12 years to stop climate catastrophe", and The Washington Post's "The world has just over a decade to get climate change under control, United Nations scientists say".

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In 2015, when the nations of the world agreed to the historic Paris climate agreement, they set dual goals: 2 degrees C and a more demanding target of 1.5 degrees C from pre-industrial times.

If governments fail to ramp up their ambition to reduce heat-trapping emissions over the next two years, they will have consciously abandoned the 1.5 degree goal, he added. "Several regional changes in climate are assessed to occur with global warming up to 1.5 degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, including warming of extreme temperatures in many regions (high confidence), increases in frequency, intensity, and/or amount of heavy precipitation in several regions (high confidence), and an increase in intensity or frequency of droughts in some regions (medium confidence)".

Time is running out: the IPCC report is unequivocal that the world - including Australia - needs to take unprecedented action, and it needs to do it soon.

Four scenarios are modeled in the report that reflect different strategies governments could take to deliver "no or low overshoot" of the 1.5°C target. And that would have the side benefit of avoiding more than 100 million premature deaths through this century, the report said.

"It also means adapting to the growing impacts of climate change that are felt here, particularly to the increasing flood risks from heavy rainfall and from sea level rise along our coasts". This would require all countries to enhance their existing emission reduction targets under the agreement for the period starting 2020.

Without real change, the world is not even on course to reach the 2C target, experts said.

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Phasing out the burning of coal, the most carbon-intensive form for power generation, nearly entirely by the middle of the century.

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