Wed, Oct 10, 2018 - Page 14 News List

UN report on global warming carries life-or-death warning

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, Chair Hoesung Lee, center, and other leaders hold a press conference in Incheon, South Korea, Monday, Oct. 8.

Photo: AP

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.


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.




◆ 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。







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