Wed, Oct 10, 2018 - Page 14 News List

UN report on global warming carries life-or-death warning
聯合國報告:全球暖化攸關生死存亡

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, Chair Hoesung Lee, center, and other leaders hold a press conference in Incheon, South Korea, Monday, Oct. 8.
「政府間氣候變遷問題小組」(IPCC)主席李會晟(上排中),以及其他領導人,週一在南韓仁川舉行記者會。

Photo: AP
照片:美聯社

Preventing an extra single degree of heat could make a life-or-death difference in the next few decades for multitudes of people and ecosystems on this fast-warming planet, according to a report by the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued at a meeting in Incheon, South Korea on Sunday. The panel provided little hope the world will rise to the challenge.

In the 728-page document, the UN organization detailed how Earth’s weather, health and ecosystems would be in better shape if the world’s leaders could somehow limit future human-caused warming to just half a degree Celsius from now, instead of the globally agreed-upon goal of 1 degree Celsius. Among other things:

◆ Half as many people would suffer from lack of water.

◆ There would be fewer deaths and illnesses from heat, smog and infectious diseases.

◆ Seas would rise nearly 0.1 meters less.

◆ Half as many vertebrates and plants would lose the majority of their habitats.

◆ There would be substantially fewer heat waves, downpours and droughts.

◆ The West Antarctic ice sheet might not kick into irreversible melting.

◆ And it just may be enough to save most of the world’s coral reefs from dying.

“For some people this is a life-or-death situation without a doubt,” said Cornell University climate scientist Natalie Mahowald, a lead author on the report.

Limiting warming to half a degree from now means the world can keep “a semblance”’ of the ecosystems we have.

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. While the UN panel says technically that’s possible, it saw little chance of the needed adjustments happening.

TODAY’S WORDS
今日單字

1. smog n.

霧霾 (wu4 mai2)

2. infectious disease phr.

傳染病 (chuan2 ran3 bing4)

3. heat wave phr.

熱浪 (re4 lang4)

4. downpour n.

豪雨 (hao2 yu3)

5. drought n.

乾旱;旱災 (gan1 han4; han4 zai1)

6. life-or-death situation phr.

生死攸關的局面 (sheng1 si3 you1 guan1 de5 ju2 mian4)


“Global warming is likely to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate,” the report states.

The pledges nations made in the Paris agreement in 2015 are “clearly insufficient to limit warming to 1.5 in any way,” one of the study’s lead authors, Joerj Roeglj of the Imperial College in London, said.

“We have a monumental task in front of us, but it is not impossible,” Mahowald said. “This is our chance to decide what the world is going to look like.” To limit warming to the lower temperature goal, the world needs “rapid and far-reaching” changes in energy systems, land use, city and industrial design, transportation and building use, the report said. It is up to governments to decide whether those unprecedented changes are acted upon.

(AP)

上週日,曾獲諾貝爾獎的聯合國組織「政府間氣候變遷問題小組」,在南韓仁川的會議上發表一份報告指出:對廣大人群和生態系統而言,要避免快速暖化的地球再升溫一度,在未來的幾十年間會是攸關生死的問題。然而,他們對於世界是否會奮起應對挑戰,並沒有抱什麼希望。

這份七百二十八頁長的報告詳細闡明,若世界各國領導人能夠從現在開始,想辦法將人類未來造成的暖化限制在攝氏零點五度以內,而不只是巴黎協議商定的目標攝氏一度,地球的天氣、健康和生態系統才會有更好的狀態,包括:

◆ 缺水的人會減少一半。

◆ 因炎熱、霧霾和傳染病而造成的的死亡和疾病會減少。

◆ 海平面的上升會減少近零點一公尺。

◆ 失去多數棲地的脊椎動物和植物的數量,將減少一半。

◆ 熱浪、豪雨和乾旱將會大幅減少。

◆ 南極西部冰層可能不會發生無法逆轉的融化。

◆ 這可能足以讓世界上大部分珊瑚礁免於死亡。

這份報告的主要作者、康乃爾大學氣候科學家娜塔莉‧馬宏瓦德說:「對某些人來說,這無疑是生死攸關的局面。」

從現在開始將暖化限制在零點九度,便可讓生態系統在未來仍和我們所熟悉的現狀相似。

但是,若要實現更具雄心的目標──即把暖化再下修一點,就需要立即、嚴格地削減阻礙熱能散失的氣體(即溫室氣體)的排放量,以及在能源方面做出巨大改變。雖然該聯合國小組的專家說這在技術上是可行的,但他們發現這些改變發生的可能性很小。

報告指出,「若按照目前暖化的速度,全球溫度可能會在二○三○年到二○五二年之間,上升攝氏一點五度」。

該報告另一主要作者、倫敦帝國學院的喬利‧羅格利表示,二○一五年巴黎協議中,各國所作出的承諾「明顯不足以將暖化限制在一點五度以內」。

「我們面前有一項巨大的任務,但這並非不可能」,馬宏瓦德說,「這是我們決定世界未來樣貌的機會」。報告中說,為了把限制暖化的目標溫度訂得更低,世界需要在能源系統、土地利用、城市及工業設計、運輸和建築用途上展開「快速而深遠的」變革。是否要採取行動進行這前所未有的變革,端賴各國政府的決定。

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