A new climate change report is a blueprint that will change the life of billions of people.
The new study from scientists on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change is a policy document for governments on how to stop global warming rising to dangerous levels.
The report follows the landmark Paris Climate Agreement which was signed by the world’s leading powers in December 2015 and subsequently dropped by US President Donald Trump.
The report required governments to take measures to limit global temperatures at ‘well below’ two degrees centigrade below pre-industrial levels and to try to keep the temperature increase to less than 1.5 degrees centigrade.
Pre-industrial levels are based on the world’s average temperature before 1850, when the Industrial revolution swept the globe.
But the new study warns this is not enough and if tougher measures are not imposed by the middle of the 21stcentury, the consequences could see low-level countries swamped by rising seas.
“The decisions we make now about whether we let 1.5 or 2 degrees or more happen will change the world enormously,” Dr Heleen de Coninck, one of the co-ordinating lead authors of the report said.
“But our lives, when keeping it below 1.5C with projected population rise and economic growth, will also look differently.”
“Lives of people will never be the same again either way, but we can influence which future we end up with.”
Deniers like President Trump say the scientists are wrong. However, the IPCC report is based on research from more than 6,000 documents detailing the science, costs and feasibility of staying below the 1.5 degree cap.
Experts and governments have provided more than 40,000 comments on the study, which the IPCC says shows the strength of their arguments.
“We don’t base our reports on a single article that has an extreme conclusion, that contrasts with the available literature,” said Dr Carolina Vera, a member of the IPCC.
“The collective view of the available literature is the most robust contribution that we can provide to the governments.”
Reaching the limit means some big changes, like cutting CO2 emissions even more, moving to renewable energy and even developing technology to suck greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
The IPCC says we have 12 years to turn back nearly two centuries of climate abuse that has led to extreme weather, food scarcity and drought.