OTTAWA—The politics of climate change just got hotter. On Sunday night, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) dropped a bombshell report.
If humanity is to avoid the catastrophic extremes of global warming — widespread extinctions and species loss; an Arctic without sea ice; the disappearance of coral reefs; mass displacement from rising oceans and extreme weather — then governments around the world need to ramp up their efforts to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, the report concludes.
Citing evidence from more than 6,000 scientific references, the report’s 91 authors outline the path to limiting global warming by 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures by 2100 — the target set under the 2015 Paris Agreement. Global greenhouse gases will need to fall by about 45 per cent below 2010 levels within the next 12 years, and then reach “net zero” by 2050, the report says.
This would require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society,” such as transportation, energy use and more, as well as the advent of as yet-unproven means of sucking GHGs out of the atmosphere, the IPCC says.
It’s an astonishing prescription, to be sure — but, here in Canada, many expect the IPCC’s alarm to intensify what is already one of the most divisive political issues of our time: climate change and what to do about it.