This Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents the key findings of the Special Report, based on the assessment of the available scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to global warming of 1.5°C and for the comparison between global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The level of confidence associated with each key finding is reported using the IPCC calibrated language.
Global mean surface temperature (GMST): Estimated global average of near-surface air temperatures over land and sea ice, and sea surface temperatures over ice-free ocean regions, with changes normally expressed as departures from a value over a specified reference period. When estimating changes in GMST, near-surface air temperature over both land and oceans are also used.
Pre-industrial: The multi-century period prior to the onset of large-scale industrial activity around 1750. The reference period 1850–1900 is used to approxi- mate pre-industrial GMST.
Global warming: The estimated increase in GMST averaged over a 30-year period, or the 30-year period centred on a particular year or decade, expressed rela- tive to pre-industrial levels unless otherwise specified. For 30-year periods that span past and future years, the current multi-decadal warming trend is assumed to continue.
Net zero CO2 emissions: Net zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are achieved when anthropogenic CO2 emissions are balanced globally by anthropogenic CO2 removals over a specified period.
Carbon dioxide removal (CDR): Anthropogenic activities removing CO2 from the atmosphere and durably storing it in geological, terrestrial, or ocean reservoirs, or in products. It includes existing and potential anthropogenic enhancement of biological or geochemical sinks and direct air capture and storage, but excludes natural CO2 uptake not directly caused by human activities.
Total carbon budget: Estimated cumulative net global anthropogenic CO2 emissions from the pre-industrial period to the time that anthropogenic CO2 emissions reach net zero that would result, at some probability, in limiting global warming to a given level, accounting for the impact of other anthropogenic emissions.
Remaining carbon budget: Estimated cumulative net global anthropogenic CO2 emissions from a given start date to the time that anthropogenic CO2 emissions reach net zero that would result, at some probability, in limiting global warming to a given level, accounting for the impact of other anthropogenic emissions.
Temperature overshoot: The temporary exceedance of a specified level of global warming.
Emission pathways: In this Summary for Policymakers, the modelled trajectories of global anthropogenic emissions over the 21st century are termed emission pathways. Emission pathways are classified by their temperature trajectory over the 21st century: pathways giving at least 50% probability based on current knowledge of limiting global warming to below 1.5°C are classified as ‘no overshoot’; those limiting warming to below 1.6°C and returning to 1.5°C by 2100 are classified as ‘1.5°C limited-overshoot’; while those exceeding 1.6°C but still returning to 1.5°C by 2100 are classified as ‘higher-overshoot’.
Impacts: Effects of climate change on human and natural systems. Impacts can have beneficial or ad- verse outcomes for livelihoods, health and well-being, ecosystems and species, services, infrastructure, and economic, social and cultural assets.
Risk: The potential for adverse consequences from a climate-related hazard for human and natural systems, resulting from the interactions between the hazard and the vulnerability and exposure of the affected system. Risk integrates the likelihood of exposure to a hazard and the magnitude of its impact. Risk also can describe the potential for adverse consequences of adaptation or mitigation responses to climate change.
Climate-resilient development pathways (CRDPs): Trajectories that strengthen sustainable development at multiple scales and efforts to eradicate poverty through equitable societal and systems transitions and transformations while reducing the threat of climate change through ambitious mitigation, adaptation and climate resilience.
Understanding Global Warming of 1.5°C
Human activities are estimated to have caused ap- proximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-in- dustrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate (high confidence).
Warming from anthropogenic emissions from the pre-industrial period to the present will persist for centuries to millennia and will continue to cause further long-term changes in the climate system, such as sea level rise, with associated impacts (high confidence), but these emissions alone are unlikely to cause global warming of 1.5°C (medium confidence).
Climate-related risks for natural and human systems are higher for global warming of 1.5°C than at present, but lower than at 2°C (high confidence). These risks depend on the magnitude and rate of warming, geographic location, levels of development and vulnerability, and on the choices and implementation of adaptation and mitigation options (high confidence).
Projected Climate Change, Potential Impacts and Associated Risks
Climate models project robust differences in regional climate characteristics between present-day and global warming of 1.5°C, and between 1.5°C and 2°C. These differences include increases in: mean temperature in most land and ocean regions (high confidence), hot extremes in most inhabited regions (high confidence), heavy precipitation in several regions (me- dium confidence), and the probability of drought and precipitation deficits in some regions (medium confidence).
By 2100, global mean sea level rise is projected to be around 0.1 metre lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared to 2°C (medium confidence). Sea level will continue to rise well beyond 2100 (high confidence), and the magnitude and rate of this rise depend on future emission pathways.
A slower rate of sea level rise enables greater opportunities for adaptation in the human and ecological systems of small islands, low-lying coastal areas and deltas (medium confidence).
On land, impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, including species loss and extinction, are projected to be lower at 1.5°C of global warming compared to 2°C. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C is projected to lower the impacts on terrestrial, freshwater and coastal ecosystems and to retain more of their services to humans (high confidence).
Limiting global warming to 1.5°C com- pared to 2°C is projected to reduce increases in ocean temperature as well as associated increases in ocean acidity and decreases in ocean oxygen levels (high confidence). Consequently, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is projected to reduce risks to marine biodiversity, fisheries, and ecosystems, and their functions and services to humans, as illustrated by recent changes to Arctic sea ice and warm-water coral reef ecosystems (high confidence).
Climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5°C and increase further with 2°C.
Most adaptation needs will be lower for global warming of 1.5°C compared to 2°C (high confidence).
There are a wide range of adaptation options that can reduce the risks of cli- mate change (high confidence). There are limits to adaptation and adaptive capacity for some human and natural systems at global warming of 1.5°C, with associated losses (medium confidence). The number and availability of adaptation options vary by sector (medium confidence).
Emission Pathways and System Transitions Consistent with 1.5°C Global Warming
In model pathways with no or limited overshoot of 1.5°C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 (40–60% interquartile range), reaching net zero around 2050 (2045–2055 interquartile range). For limiting global warming to below 2°C CO2 emissions are projected to decline by about 25% by 2030 in most pathways (10–30% interquartile range) and reach net zero around 2070 (2065–2080 interquartile range). Non- CO2 emissions in pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C show deep reductions that are similar to those in pathways limiting warming to 2°C (high confidence).
Pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems (high confidence). These systems transitions are unprecedented in terms of scale, but not necessarily in terms of speed, and imply deep emissions reductions in all sectors, a wide portfolio of mitigation options and a significant upscaling of investments in those options (medium confidence).
All pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C with limited or no overshoot project the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) on the order of 100–1000 GtCO2 over the 21st century.
CDR would be used to compensate for residual emissions and, in most cases, achieve net negative emissions to return global warming to 1.5°C following a peak (high confidence). CDR deployment of several hundreds of GtCO2 is subject to multiple feasibility and sustainability constraints (high confidence).
Significant near-term emissions reductions and measures to lower energy and land demand can limit CDR deployment to a few hundred GtCO2 without reliance on bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BEC- CS) (high confidence).
Strengthening the Global Response in the Context of Sustainable Development and Efforts to Eradicate Poverty
Estimates of the global emissions outcome of current nationally stated mitigation am- bitions as submitted under the Paris Agree- ment would lead to global greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 of 52–58 GtCO2eq yr−1 (medium confidence). Pathways reflecting these ambitions would not limit global warming to 1.5°C, even if supplemented by very challenging increases in the scale and ambition of emissions reductions after 2030 (high confidence).
Avoiding overshoot and reliance on future large-scale deployment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) can only be achieved if global CO2 emissions start to decline well before 2030 (high confidence).
The avoided climate change impacts on sustainable development, eradication of poverty and reducing inequalities would be greater if global warming were limited to 1.5°C rather than 2°C, if mitigation and adaptation synergies are maximized while trade-offs are minimized (high confidence).
Adaptation options specific to national contexts, if carefully selected together with enabling conditions, will have benefits for sustainable development and poverty reduction with global warming of 1.5°C, although trade-offs are possible (high confidence).
Mitigation options consistent with 1.5°C pathways are associated with multiple synergies and tradeoffs across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While the total number of possible synergies exceeds the number of trade-offs, their net effect will depend on the pace and magnitude of changes, the composition of the mitigation portfolio and the management of the transition (high confidence).
Limiting the risks from global warming of 1.5°C in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication implies system transitions that can be enabled by an increase of adaptation and mitigation investments, policy instruments, the acceleration of technological innovation and behaviour changes (high confidence).
Sustainable development supports, and often enables, the fundamental societal and systems transitions and transformations that help limit global warming to 1.5°C.
Such changes facilitate the pursuit of climate-resilient development pathways that achieve ambitious mitigation and adaptation in conjunction with poverty eradication and efforts to reduce inequalities (high confidence).
Strengthening the capacities for climate action of national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities can support the implementation of ambitious actions implied by limiting global warming to 1.5°C (high confidence). International cooperation can provide an enabling environment for this to be achieved in all countries and for all people, in the context of sustainable development. International cooperation is a critical enabler for developing countries and vulnerable regions (high confidence).
| AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM | Fall 2020