Governments need to significantly step up the level of ambition. Photo: © Shutterstock – KeepWatch

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C is possible

Climate Action Network evaluates the IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C for the Talanoa Dialogue.

Climate Action Network (CAN) has reviewed the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5°C. CAN considers the findings in the report to be a wake-up call with regards to the quantification of different climate risks and impacts at 1.5°C degrees and 2°C degrees of global warming and with regards to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

CAN emphasises a number of findings in the report, including that climate change is happening now and that the current warming level of approximately one degree is already affecting people, ecosystems and livelihoods all around the world; that we know what is needed to achieve 1.5°C and that every half-a-degree matters for people and nature; that rapid and deep cuts of global greenhouse gas emissions in all economic sectors are needed to limit global warming but can go hand-in-hand with other world goals.

Regarding the discussions in the report concerning carbon dioxide removal CAN points out that some 1.5°C pathways with more stringent emission cuts, reduce the need for later removals and that forest and land use restoration are better than riskier, untested options.

CAN recognises with great concern that the report identifies impacts at the current global warming level and that even 1.5°C of global temperature rise will be expected to result in very severe impacts in several global ecosystems, such as coral reefs and the Arctic region, as well as more extreme weather events, increased coastal and river flooding, lower crop yields, and increased heat-related morbidity and mortality.

A key conclusion is that the world is far from being on track to meet the Paris Agreement targets. Current NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) could lead us to a world of 3–4°C of warming. The report states that global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions must decline by about 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 (40–60% interquartile range), reaching net zero around 2050 (2045–2055 interquartile range) to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

The network also encourages parties to fully consider the findings of the special report in the Talanoa Dialogue, and respond by recognising the need to significantly step up the level of ambition in current NDCs and committing to update NDCs by 2020 in line with the best available science.

CAN states that the outputs from the Talanoa Dialogue should include actionable, next-step recommendations from the Presidencies, laying out the practical next steps countries need to take at national level to assess the areas, opportunities and solutions for enhancing their NDCs. Likewise, the UNFCCC needs to provide enough space for countries, international organisations and other actors to report back on progress at national level on enhancing their climate ambition. Additionally, the UNSG Summit in 2019 is a critical opportunity to further assess whether enough progress is being made collectively at the global level to safeguard the 1.5°C target and would be a critical milestone for reporting on progress in the national review process.

CAN recommends a more in-depth analysis of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C by the UNFCCC in the next few months as the Second Periodical Review will re-start its work and concludes that, based on the report, the CAN position remains that global temperature increases must stay below 1.5°C to minimise these risks.

Compiled by Reinhold Pape

CAN International Briefing, 8 November 2018:



In this issue