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New report by 91 scientists warns of immediate impact of climate change

A new climate change report by 91 scientists from 40 countries has warned that hundreds of millions of people around the world will face the immediate risks of worsening drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty if global warming is not kept to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The report, released on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to advise world leaders on climate change, says policy changes and accelerated actions are required to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and avoid the devastating impact of climate change.

The scientists found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current level, the Earth will warm up by as much as 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by 2040. The world is currently 1 degrees warmer than preindustrial levels.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of Working Group dealing with the physical science basis of climate change.

The report which analysed more than 6,000 scientific studies draws attention to the nearer consequences of climate change than previous work which had estimated the impact of climate change if average temperatures were to rise beyond 2 degrees Celsius. World leaders had agreed in Paris in 2015 to limit global warming to between 1.5 and 2 degrees.

Reacting to the report, Apollos Nwafor, Pan Africa Director of Oxfam International, said if urgent climate action is not taken, Africa will be worse off.

“Climate change has set our planet on fire, millions are already feeling the impacts, and the IPCC just showed that things can get much worse,” Nwafor said. “Settling for 2 degrees would be a death sentence for people in many parts of Africa. The faster governments embrace the renewable energy revolution and move to protect communities at risk, the more lives and livelihoods that will be spared.

“A hotter Africa is a hungrier Africa. Today at only 1.1 degrees of warming globally, crops and livestock across the region are being hit and hunger is rising, with poor small scale women farmers, living in rural areas suffering the most. It only gets worse from here.

“To do nothing more and simply follow the commitments made in the Paris Agreement condemns the world to 3 degrees of warming. The damage to our planet and humanity would be exponentially worse and irreparable.

“None of this is inevitable. What gives us hope is that some of the poorest and lowest emitting countries are now leading the climate fight. We’ve moved from an era of ‘you first’ to ‘follow me’ – it’s time for the rich world to do just that.

“Oxfam calls for increased, responsible and accountable climate finance from rich countries that supports small scale farmers, especially women to realize their right to food security and climate justice.

“While time is short, there is still a chance of keeping to 1.5 degrees of warming. We must reject any false solution like Large Scale Land Based Investments that means kicking small scale farmers off their land to make way for carbon farming and focus instead on stopping our use of fossil fuels, starting with an end to building new coal power stations worldwide.”

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