WASHINGTON (October 8, 2018)—The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. The report, Global Warming of 1.5°C, was prepared in response to an invitation from the UNFCCC’s Conference of the Parties in 2015 (COP21) when the Paris Agreement was signed.

Below is a statement from Dr. Andrew Steer, President & CEO, World Resources Institute:

“The IPCC report is a wake-up call for slumbering world leaders. We must reduce emissions as quickly as possible to keep 1.5 degrees of warming within reach. The difference in impacts between 1.5 and 2 degrees of warming is large, and potentially game changing. And, the devastation that would come with today’s 3-4 degree Celsius trajectory would be vastly greater. Each tenth of a degree matters – and tragically it’s the poor who will be most affected.

“Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees will require a radical transformation of economic and social systems at a scale never seen before. This is difficult, but by no means impossible. We know how to do it, and we know that it will lead to a much healthier economy and much healthier citizens. We now know that accelerated climate action can lead to large economic benefits, including a $26 trillion win. But this will require the emergence of global leadership that is missing today. Identifying and supporting this leadership must be a top priority.

“While we need to rapidly decarbonize the economy, this will no longer be enough. We must also pull carbon out of the air. Restoring landscapes and forests is one of the best, most cost-effective options available. We also must also support and engage communities to accelerate efforts to adapt to climate change.

“The urgent message of the IPCC report must be carried into the halls of power and the negotiation rooms at COP24. This should be a moral imperative for all leaders around the world.”