Speed Reads


Scientists say 'unprecedented' action must be taken to prevent catastrophic climate change by 2040

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a dire report on Monday, warning that in order to avoid catastrophic climate change by as early as 2040, governments around the world must take "unprecedented" action to limit global warming to "well below" 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

The panel is under the auspices of the United Nations, and the report was written by 91 scientists from 40 countries who examined more than 6,000 scientific studies. They found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, by 2040, the atmosphere will heat up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels, causing a mass die off of coral reefs, intense droughts, coastal flooding, and food shortages.

Previously, scientists believed the threshold was 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Bill Hare, author of previous IPCC reports and a physicist, told The New York Times the report is "quite a shock, and quite concerning. We were not aware of this just a few years ago."

The report states that in order to prevent 2.7 degrees of warming, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050. There must also be an increase in wind and solar power, and the use of coal as a source of electricity must drop from nearly 40 percent today to between one and seven percent by 2050. President Trump has rejected the science and near universal agreement on climate change, and wants to see coal used even more than it is today.