WWF calls on the EU to take urgent action to limit global warming to 1.5°C | WWF

WWF calls on the EU to take urgent action to limit global warming to 1.5°C

Posted on
08 October 2018
Brussels, Belgium - 8 October 2018

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C released today demonstrates how critical it is to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Approved by 195 governments, the report underscores the small window of opportunity we have to make immediate, deep and transformational changes—without which the world we know will be irreversibly changed.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C makes clear that allowing global temperatures to rise by 2°C above pre-industrial levels will have greater consequences compared to a 1.5°C limit, including the massive loss of natural habitats and species [1], a disappearing Arctic ice sheet, and higher sea levels.
The climate impacts will also affect our health, livelihoods, human security and economic growth [2]. 2017 was already one of the costliest years on record for global insured losses resulting from natural and man-made disasters [3]. In Europe alone, heatwaves could increase by a factor of five by the end of this century, with droughts likely to be become increasingly frequent in the Mediterranean area, western Europe, and Northern Scandinavia [4].
Current emissions, which put us on a 3°C plus global warming trend, will lead us to breach tipping points that will cause irreversible changes. Delaying action will only lead to deeper, costlier, and most importantly unproven ‘solutions’ in the future--whereas we have policy solutions available today that will prevent those catastrophic climate impacts.
“The EU’s pledge to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030 is far from sufficient to meet IPCC’s scientific recommendations of a 1.5°C global warming limit. To achieve this 1.5°C pathway, the EU needs to aim for net-zero emissions by 2040 [5]. This will require ambitious action in every sector, but it is feasible and will bring huge benefits – to health, jobs and energy independence” commented Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate & Energy, WWF European Policy Office.
“Limiting warming to 1.5°C is possible, necessary and urgent. The difference between possible and impossible is political will. Clearly the responsibility is with national and policy makers to keep Europe safe by contributing to keep global warming to 1.5°C. The EU’s long-term climate strategy, to be published end November this year, needs to be based on the science of the IPCC report — and not on pressure from business lobbies who are trying to delay the inevitable. The findings make very clear how crucial time is in achieving this 1.5°C limit”, continued Lübbeke.
Tomorrow, the EU’s Environment Council will develop its recommendation ahead of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP24). Based on the IPCC’s landmark scientific evidence, WWF urges the EU to increase the ambition in their Paris Agreement national climate commitments by 2020 [6], and demonstrate further global climate leadership through a transformational long-term climate strategy come November.  
Notes to Editors:
The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C is available here.
[1] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180517143635.html
[2] http://www.oecd.org/env/the-economic-consequences-of-climate-change-9789264235410-en.htm
[3] https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/joc.5291
[4] http://www.swissre.com/media/news_releases/nr20171220_sigma_estimates.html
[5] http://www.wwf.eu/media_centre/publications/?uNewsID=330758
[6] http://www.wwf.eu/media_centre/?uNewsID=336033

Further information:
The IPCC report and its summary for policymakers were commissioned by governments following the UN meeting in Paris in 2015, when it was agreed to act to limit increases in global average temperature well below than 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to try keep that increase at 1.5°C.


Alexandra Chevalier
Senior Communications Officer, Climate & Energy
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