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Warming set to breach Paris accord's toughest limit by mid century: draft

From Reuters - January 11, 2018

OSLO (Reuters) - Global warming is on track to breach the toughest limit set in the Paris climate agreement by the middle of this century unless governments make unprecedented economic shifts from fossil fuels, a draft U.N. report said.

The draft, of a report due for publication in October, said governments will also have to start sucking carbon dioxide from the air to achieve the ambition of limiting temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

There is very high risk that ... global warming will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the U.N. panel of experts wrote, based on the current pace of warming and current national plans to limit their greenhouse gas emissions.

There were no historic precedents for the scale of changes required in energy use, to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energies, and in reforms ranging from agriculture to industry to stay below the 1.5C limit, it said.

The draft, by the U.N.s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of leading scientists and obtained by Reuters, says average surface temperatures are about 1C above pre-industrial times and that average temperatures are on track to reach 1.5C by the 2040s.

Curbing warming to 1.5C would help limit heat extremes, droughts and floods, more migration of people and even risks of conflict compared to higher rates of warming, according to the draft summary for policymakers.

But a 1.5C rise might not be enough to protect many coral reefs, already suffering from higher ocean temperatures, and ice stored in Greenland and West Antarctica whose melt is raising sea levels.

At a 2015 summit in Paris, almost 200 nations set a goal of limiting a rise in the worlds average surface temperatures to well below 2C (3.6 F) above pre-industrial times while pursuing efforts for the far tougher 1.5 ceiling.

They commissioned the IPCC report to map the risks of each goal. The 1.5C limit is favored especially by developing nations most at risk from disruptions to food and water supplies.

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