Page 9 - Respond 2019 Magazine
P. 9


          A pregnant woman suffering from malaria. As the climate changes, mosquitoes will spread disease to new areas (Pic: Flickr/hdptcar)

          5.     Global warming is already impacting people and ecosystems.   compared to 1.5C. That is equivalent to the land area of Iran,
             The risks at 1.5C and 2C are progressively higher.    Mexico or Algeria. In a vicious cycle, thawing permafrost
                                                                   releases methane, a greenhouse gas.
          6.     Lines on the feasibility of holding the temperature rise
             to 1.5C and the importance of considering sustainable   12.   The probability of a sea ice-free Arctic summer increases
             development have been cut from this section. They are   tenfold from once a century at 1.5C warming to once a
             considered in detail elsewhere, but it shows a lack of   decade at 2C. Marine ecosystems will be hit by ocean
             consensus on the high-level conclusions.              acidification and warming. 2C virtually wipes out coral reefs,
                                                                   compared to a 70-90% decline at 1.5C.
          Impacts and threats
          7.     There will be worse heatwaves, drought and flooding at 2C   13.   Farming and fishing communities will be hit hardest by these
             compared to 1.5C. A previous version characterised these   impacts, particularly in the Arctic, drylands, islands and the
             as “substantial differences in extremes”. That wording   poorest countries. Limiting global warming to 1.5C cuts the
             has been replaced with “robust differences in regional   number susceptible to poverty and climate-related risks by
             climate characteristics”, in a win for the US, which argued   up to several hundred million by 2050.
             “substantial” was too subjective.
                                                               14.   That extra half a degree of warming is mostly bad for health.
          8.     Sea levels are expected to rise 10cm higher this century   It expands the range of mosquitoes carrying diseases like
             under 2C of warming than 1.5C. That exposes an extra 10   malaria and dengue, and heat makes a whole range of
             million people to impacts like coastal flooding and saltwater   conditions more deadly.
             getting into their fields and drinking water supplies. Slower   15.   The quantity and quality of staple crops suffers under 2C
             warming buys them time to adapt.
                                                                   warming compared to 1.5C, as do livestock. That is bad for
          9.     Over centuries and millenia, sea levels will continue rising   the availability of food in many parts of the world.
             after temperatures have stabilised. The collapse of ice sheets   16.   Economic growth is expected to suffer as a result of the
             in Greenland and Antarctica could lead to rises of several   impacts of global warming, all else being equal. This
                                                                   assessment does not attempt to balance that with the costs
          10.   One of the most striking quantitative findings concerns the   and benefits of cutting emissions and investing in resilience
             loss of biodiversity. It predicts the proportion of species that   to climate change impacts.
             will lose half their geographic range. Out of 105,000 species   17.   There are lots of options to protect against the impacts of
             studied, the rate doubles between 1.5C and 2C warming to   global warming, from sea walls to drought-resistant crops.
             16% for plants and 8% for vertebrates, and triples to 18% for   But these adaptations have limitations and some vulnerable
                                                                   populations face losses. The Paris Agreement acknowledged
          11.   An estimated 1.5-2.5 million square kilometres more   this “loss and damage”, but the UN process has yet to yield
             permafrost will thaw this century under 2C warming    concrete support for the victims.

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