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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released today a special report that details the dramatic consequences of current and future climate change, and identifies the benefits of limiting global warming as much as possible. The expert report provides the first comprehensive assessment of the impacts of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming above preindustrial levels – and concludes that limiting warming to that level would significantly reduce the risk of climate impacts such as water scarcity, flood and drought, extreme heat, tropical cyclones, biodiversity loss, and sea level rise relative to warming of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).The Paris Agreement sets a global goal of limiting warming to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to "pursue efforts" to limit warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. The earth has already warmed roughly 1 degree Celsius (1.5 degrees Fahrenheit).Statement from Nathaniel Keohane, Senior Vice President for Climate at Environmental Defense Fund:
"This new report makes it clearer than ever that we're in the race of our lives. Our fate – and the fate of our children – is in our hands. We can make decisions that protect our communities, our children, and future generations, or we can pass on a world far different and more damaged than the one we inherited. It's time to cut climate pollution, make clean energy abundant and accessible to all, and protect the world's tropical forests that store enormous amounts of carbon. As the report makes clear, the stakes could not be higher."This news is jarring, but it also shows us the way forward. If we are ambitious about moving to clean energy, as well as cutting methane pollution and black carbon, we can make significant progress. We owe it to ourselves and our children to take this warning – and this opportunity – seriously.
"The good news is that the wind is at our backs. Recent technological advances are already shaping our ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Countries are putting in place market-based policies like emission trading programs that create powerful incentives to develop and deploy the fastest and cheapest ways to cut carbon.
"Even as President Trump seeks to take the U.S. backward, the rest of America – and the rest of the world – is moving ahead. The clear benefits of limiting global warming laid out in this report should inspire us to double down on our fight to provide a safe planet for our children and future generations."
- Nathaniel Keohane, Senior Vice President for Climate at Environmental Defense Fund
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