Earth has 10 years left to avoid 'Unthinkable damage: UN Climate report

What is the IPCC?

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The IPCC is the world's leading body for assessing the science related to climate change, its impacts, potential future risks and possible response options.  It was established in 1998 by the U.N. Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation to provide policymakers with scientific assessments on climate change. It has 195 member states.

What is the latest report about ?

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Monday's "Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees", prepared at the request of governments which signed the 2015 Paris Agreement, outlines the impact of global warming of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels and steps needed to contain warming at that level. The summary for policymakers presents the main findings of the report, based on an assessment of all available scientific, technical and socio-economic research. It compares the impact of global warming of 1.5C and 2C. Writing of the report was led by three working groups - one to assess the physical scientific basis of climate change, the second to look at impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, and the third to assess climate change mitigation.

Details of the report

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According to the report If greenhouse gas emissions are not cut drastically and rapidly, between 2030-52, Earth’s global average temperatures could rise by 1.5 degree above pre-industrial era levels, leading to widespread climate change impacts.  The scientists summarised that the already recorded rise of 1 degree in global average temperatures has led to substantial impacts. According to scientists a rise in global temperatures by another 0.5 degree Celsius would increase, deepen and spread the impacts wider.

The Paris Agreement

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The report said  that  the changes to climate, environment and human life would be less devastating and dangerous if the global temperature rise is contained at below 1.5 degree instead of 2 degree Celsius which is  the existing primary goal of the Paris Agreement. This would require all countries to enhance their existing emission reduction targets under the agreement for the period starting 2020. It would also require developed countries to contribute more to global finance flows and technology sharing for poor countries to achieve these enhanced targets.

Where does India stand?

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Currently, renewable power capacity in India is 20% of installed capacity. The country’s forest area rose by 1% over two years till 2017, covering 24% of India. Only 24% of the country’s solid waste collected annually by municipalities is processed.

United States accepts the report but does not endorse it

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The US announced that it accepted the report - in effect stopped short of vetoing it - but it did not endorse the content and the findings in the report. It also reasserted that it was determined to step out of the Paris Agreement on the first given opportunity.

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