United Nations climate change panel calls for rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes

"Where the report is concerned, specifically, "'With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC, ' said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC", who provided commentary in the release.

To limit warming to 1.5 degrees would require a roughly fivefold increase in average annual investment in low-carbon energy technologies by 2050, compared with 2015.

The summary also said that renewable energy would need to supply 70% to 85% of electricity by 2050 as compared to just 25% now to stay within the 1.5℃ mark. Scientists said "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" are required to limit the possibility of irreversible environmental damage.

Even in the best-case scenario, where global warming is capped at 1.5 °C by the end of the century, its effects will most likely be devastating.

The WWF called on the European Union to take urgent action to limit global warming to 1.5ºC, saying in a press release: "Approved by 195 governments, the report underscores the small window of opportunity we have to make immediate, deep and transformational changes - without which the world we know will be irreversibly changed".

Scottish Greens' co-convener Patrick Harvie said: "We've always challenged the government to go further in its response to risky climate change".

"There will be 420 million people less suffering because of climate change if we would be able to limit the warming to 1.5°C level and we have certain areas in the world which are extremely sensitive", Mr. Taalas said.

The report says a 2C rise will lead to more heatwaves and extreme rainstorms, more people facing water shortages and drought, greater economic losses and lower yields for major crops than 1.5C. The scientists concluded that carbon dioxide emissions should be cut 45% by 2030 from 2010 levels then reduced to zero by 2050.

The effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development, the report notes.

"It's a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now", said Debra Roberts, a co-chair of the working group on impacts. When figures came out in the past few years noting that more than 500 million plastic straws were being used daily in the US and they were polluting the ocean, local government after local government quickly moved to ban plastic straws.

Director Dr Richard Dixon said: "Today's IPCC report is an unprecedented warning on climate change".

These so-called shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs), which focus on mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, are a fairly new innovation and draw a new dimension to climate modeling: the impact of changes in human behavior. The livestock sector is estimated to account for 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, more than direct emissions from the transport sector.

"It also means adapting to the growing impacts of climate change that are felt here, particularly to the increasing flood risks from heavy rainfall and from sea level rise along our coasts". He said the long-awaited findings show that "climate change is running faster than we are - and we are running out of time".

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  • Joey Payne