Monthly May ice extent for 1979 to 2018 shows a decline of 2.6 percent per decade. Graphic: National Snow and Ice Data Center

By Alister Doyle; editing by John Stonestreet
20 June 2018

OSLO (Reuters) – Global warming is on course to exceed the most stringent goal set in the Paris agreement by around 2040, threatening economic growth, according to a draft report that is the U.N.’s starkest warning yet of the risks of climate change.

Governments can still cap temperatures below the strict 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7° Fahrenheit) ceiling agreed in 2015 only with “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in the world economy, according to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The final government draft, obtained by Reuters and dated 4 June 2018, is due for publication in October in South Korea after revisions and approval by governments.

It will be the main scientific guide for combating climate change.

“If emissions continue at their present rate, human-induced warming will exceed 1.5°C by around 2040,” according to the report, which broadly reaffirms findings in an earlier draft in January but is more robust, after 25,000 comments from experts and a wider pool of scientific literature.

The Paris climate agreement, adopted by almost 200 nations in 2015, set a goal of limiting warming to “well below” a rise of 2°C above pre-industrial times while “pursuing efforts” for the tougher 1.5° goal.

The deal has been weakened after U.S. President Donald Trump decided last year to pull out and promote U.S. fossil fuels.

Temperatures are already up about 1°C (1.8°F) and are rising at a rate of about 0.2°C a decade, according to the draft, requested by world leaders as part of the Paris Agreement.

“Economic growth is projected to be lower at 2°C warming than at 1.5° for many developed and developing countries,” it said, drained by impacts such as floods or droughts that can undermine crop growth or an increase in human deaths from heatwaves.

In a plus-1.5°C world, for instance, sea level rise would be 10 centimeters (3.94 inches) less than with 2°C, exposing about 10 million fewer people in coastal areas to risks such as floods, storm surges, or salt spray damaging crops.

It says current government pledges in the Paris Agreement are too weak to limit warming to 1.5°C. [more]

Exclusive: Global warming set to exceed 1.5°C, slow growth - U.N. draft

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