A landmark new report has confirmed Australia has already warmed 1.4C with impacts already seen in many regions, particularly in the southern parts of the country.
Scientists have observed changes to the Earth’s climate in every region in the world and across the whole climate system, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released today.
The report from the United Nations body draws on the latest developments in modelling and science, stating it is “unequivocal” that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.
“Each of the last four decades has been successively warmer than any decade that preceded it since 1850,” the report states.
The report said the world had warmed by an average of 1.1 degrees celsius, and using an “intermediate” approach that aligned most closely with current climate pledges, warming could reach up to 1.8C within 20 years (2040) and up to 2.5C within 40 years. By 2100 temperatures could be 3.5C higher.
Even under the lowest emissions scenario, temperatures would rise by up to 1.7C within the next 20 years, and could reach 2C within 40 years.
Under higher emissions scenarios, warming could reach as high as 1.9C within 20 years.
United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres said the internationally agreed threshold of 1.5C was “perilously close”.
“We are at imminent risk of hitting 1.5 degrees in the near term,” he said.
“The only way to prevent exceeding this threshold is by urgently stepping up our efforts, and pursuing the most ambitious path. We must act decisively now to keep 1.5 alive.”
Australia has experienced warming of 1.4C — much higher than the global average of 1.1C — that has led to more hot extremes and less rainfall during winter in southern Australia, as well as many other impacts.
“This report shows Scott Morrison’s 2030 targets are a death sentence for Australia,” Greens leader Adam Bandt said.
Impacts on Australia