A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finds that the world may warm by 1.5°C by the early 2030s, much earlier than previously estimated. It’s terrible news for the Pacific. With temperatures rising above 1.5°C, Pacific communities are likely to experience increasingly devastating climate change impacts.
The key takeaway from the IPCC report is that the more we know, the worse it looks. The planet is now already between 0.8°C and 1.3°C warmer than in pre-industrial times – moving frighteningly close to the 1.5°C threshold. This warming has already worsened temperature extremes, such as marine heatwaves that cause coral bleaching and heatwaves on land, with dangerous consequences for human health. Temperature and other climate extremes will become more intense, frequent and appear in more locations with every fraction of a degree that the planet warms.
Some of the worst impacts will be in the Pacific. Particularly concerning for the region are some of the historical sea level rise analyses and projections in this new IPCC report.