A new report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) illustrates just how dire a state our planet is in. Experts say that if governments don’t act soon, global temperatures will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030.
“This is concerning because we know there are so many more problems if we exceed 1.5 degrees C global warming, including more heat waves and hot summers, greater sea level rise, and, for many parts of the world, worse droughts and rainfall extremes,” said Dr. Andrew King, a climate science research fellow at the University of Melbourne.
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“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1 degree C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” Panmao Zhai, co-chair of IPCC Working Group I, noted.
If the planet gets any hotter—even by what seems like a minuscule temperature change—we can expect the consequences to be even worse than they already are.
“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5 degrees C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II, explained.