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Climate Change Impacts Worse Than Expected, Global Report Warns

by Stephen Leahy: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the world is headed for painful problems sooner than expected, as emissions keep rising…

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The impacts and costs of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) of global warming will be far greater than expected, according to a comprehensive assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released Sunday in Incheon, South Korea.

The past decade has seen an astonishing run of record-breaking storms, forest fires, droughts, coral bleaching, heat waves, and floods around the world with just 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1.0 degrees Celsius) of global warming. [See: Hidden Costs of Climate Change Running Hundreds of Billions a Year] But much of this will get substantially worse with 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit of warming, and far worse at 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), according to the IPCC’s “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C”, released Sunday and examining more than 6,000 studies.

The IPCC also reported that 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit could be reached in as little as 11 years—and almost certainly within 20 years without major cuts in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Even if such cuts were to begin immediately it would only delay, not prevent, 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit of global warming.

“Substantial Consequences”

While a 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 degrees Celsius) increase in room temperature is unnoticeable, permanently heating the whole planet that much will have “substantial” consequences, the report warns. The impacts will be felt across ecosystems and human communities and economies.

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