IIASA contributes to IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees C

October 09, 2018

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, a new assessment on minimizing global warming, and multiple IIASA researchers were involved in its production.

The report was approved by the IPCC at a meeting on 6 October in Incheon in South Korea and highlights the strong benefits to humanity and ecosystems of keeping global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, rather than 2°C. Governments will meet in Poland in December for the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) to review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change, and the special report will provide important scientific input.

The world is currently on track for 3-4°C of warming, far off the Paris Agreement targets. If climate change is limited to 1.5°C, rather than 2°C, the global sea level rise would be 10cm lower, hundreds of million fewer people would be exposed to severe heatwaves, ocean acidification would be reduced, protecting the ecosystems, and irreversible impacts on polar ice sheets would be avoided.

"Already we see the serious consequences of a 1°C warming, such as increased extreme weather events, sea level rise and effects on important terrestrial and oceanic systems. However, the report also shows that at 1.5°C and beyond some systems would be reaching the limits of adaptation, for example, the loss of 70-90% of tropical coral reefs by mid-century under the 1.5°C scenario, with a total loss under 2°C scenario," says Reinhard Mechler, deputy program director of the Risk and Resilience Program.

IIASA Energy Program Director Keywan Riahi says: "The report clearly shows that achieving the 1.5°C target is still possible, if rapid and stringent action is introduced," says "It will however not come for free as substantial upscaling of investments into clean energy by more than a factor of four is needed by 2050 compared to 2015."

Such actions would cover almost every aspect of life, including the use of clean energy sources such as renewables, sustainable agriculture and diet changes, CO2 removal technologies and energy efficiency. Emissions will need to fall by about 45% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels.

In support of the IPCC assessment, IIASA signed a memorandum of understanding with the Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium (IAMC) and the IPCC Working Group III to develop and host the IAMC Scenario Explorer, a database of emissions pathways which critically underpin the conclusions of the Special Report.

The development of the database was led by IIASA researcher Daniel Huppmann. Among the many scenarios four illustrative pathways were highlighted by the report. IIASA researchers were involved with the development of all four, and led the development of two of them - the Shared Socioeconomic Pathway 2 (SSP2) and the LED Scenario. Huppmann and the team collected the scenarios in a central database and used a number of models to project how the climate might change in the future and provide the insights for the report. It will also be extended for the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).

The database will be publicly launched on 15 October in the interests of transparency. The data within can be downloaded, manipulated, and assessed by other researchers to understand how the special report insights were derived.

More than 6,000 scientific references were cited in the report. Writing the report involved 91 authors from 40 countries and 133 contributing authors, including many from IIASA.

Joeri Rogelj, a researcher in the Energy Program, Mechler, and Riahi are all lead authors on the report. Various other IIASA researchers and guest researchers are listed as contributing authors or chapter scientists, including Sabine Fuss, Thomas Gasser, Peter Greve, Lena Höglund-Isaksson, David McCollum, Simon Parkinson, Pallav Purohit, and Wenji Zhou.

Rogelj, Mechler, Riahi, Fuss and Huppmann were also part of the team of drafting authors for the 'Summary for Policymakers', providing the main messages of the full report.

"The report for the first time presents a systematic assessment of the implications of mitigation for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," says Riahi, who coordinated the assessment of mitigation-SDG implications together with Joyashree Roy from Jadavpur University in India. "This is where the report goes beyond the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), highlighting, for example, critical benefits from limiting energy demand in order to maximize synergies and to avoid tradeoffs with the SDGs."

Riahi, Rogelj and Fuss were three of the representatives of the author team that met with the government delegations in Incheon to approve the final report, the full name of which is Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

"We at IIASA are extremely proud of the contributions our IIASA scientists are making to the ongoing IPCC efforts to strengthen the global response to the threat posed by climate change. In addition to the scientific contributions that IIASA scientists continue to make in this space, IIASA is also the primary data custodian for the IPCC efforts and models. Long may this productive relationship continue for the benefit of humanity," says Albert van Jaarsveld, IIASA CEO and Director General.
More information








Keywan Riahi
Program Director Energy
Tel: +43 2236 807 491

Helen Tunnicliffe
IIASA Press Office
Tel: +43 2236 807 316
Mob: +43 676 83 807 316

About IIASA:The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is an international scientific institute that conducts research into the critical issues of global environmental, economic, technological, and social change that we face in the twenty-first century. Our findings provide valuable options to policymakers to shape the future of our changing world. IIASA is independent and funded by prestigious research funding agencies in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. http://www.iiasa.ac.at

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Related Climate Change Articles from Brightsurf:

Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?
Climate science has focused on avoiding false alarms when linking extreme events to climate change.

Mysterious climate change
New research findings underline the crucial role that sea ice throughout the Southern Ocean played for atmospheric CO2 in times of rapid climate change in the past.

Mapping the path of climate change
Predicting a major transition, such as climate change, is extremely difficult, but the probabilistic framework developed by the authors is the first step in identifying the path between a shift in two environmental states.

Small change for climate change: Time to increase research funding to save the world
A new study shows that there is a huge disproportion in the level of funding for social science research into the greatest challenge in combating global warming -- how to get individuals and societies to overcome ingrained human habits to make the changes necessary to mitigate climate change.

Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.

A CERN for climate change
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.

Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).

Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.

Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.

Read More: Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.