Act and invest now to reduce dangerous impacts of climate change
New Science publication shows: Climate change mitigation measures cost less than the damage caused by climate change.
Climate change causes high financial losses for private individuals and entire societies. [Photo: Mountain photo - Fotolia]
A group of researchers who were previously involved in the preparation of the IPCC Special Report on the 1.5ºC of global warming (SR 1.5), are making a call on world leaders to accelerate efforts to tackle climate change. Prof. Dr. Daniela Jacob and Tania Guillén from the Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS), a scientific n instituteorganizational entity of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, and Prof. Dr. Hans-Otto Pörtner from the Alfred-Wegener-Institute (AWI) are among this distinguished group of researchers, lead by Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg from University of Queensland in Australia.
Unprecedented weather extremes
Exceptional droughts in summer endanger the shipping routes in Germany. Here the Rhine near Cologne. [© Klausmjan/Fotolia]
Climate change is already driving changes in the planet’s environment and ecology. According to their study published in “Science”, reducing the magnitude of climate change is also a good investment. Over the next few decades, acting to reduce climate change is expected to cost much less than the damage otherwise inflicted by climate change on people, infrastructure and ecosystems.
The investment is even more compelling given the wealth of evidence that the impacts of climate change are happening faster and more extensively than projected, even just a few years ago. This makes the case for rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions even more compelling and urgent.
Professor Daniela Jacob, co-author and Director of Climate Services Center Germany (GERICS) is concerned about the speed of the changes – especially about increased occurrence of unprecedented weather extremes. These changes are having major consequences.
“We are already in new territory” said Prof Jacob, “The ‘novelty’ of the weather is making our ability to forecast and respond to weather-related phenomena very difficult”.
Every bit of warming counts
The threat of heavy rainfall is more frequent due to climate change. [Fotolia/Animaflora ]
Professor Hans-Otto Pörtner, Section Head of Integrative Ecophysiology at AWI and Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II emphasized that “Impacts of climate change are already seen on all continents and in all oceans, some are catastrophic today. The study clearly shows that every bit of warming counts and that time is running short to limit the severity of impacts by ambitious emissions reductions. However, the choice is ours and with appropriate measures taken now a sustainable future is within reach.”
The Science paper updates a databasethe findings of climate-related changes and finds that there are significant benefits from avoiding 2oC, and aiming to restrict the increase to 1.5oC above pre-industrial global temperatures.
The paper is being published just days ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit (23 September 2019), where countries should present concrete and realistic plans to enhance and up-scale climate action according to the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“Tackling climate change is a tall order. However, there is no alternative from the perspective of human well-being - and too much at stake not to act urgently on this issue” said Prof. Hoegh-Guldberg.
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