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'Irreversible' Damage to Planet From Climate Change Says Leaked IPCC Report
Climate change is here, man-made and already having dangerous impacts, according to leaked drafts of the upcoming UN climate science report.
The 127-page final draft of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report shows the effects of global warming are already being felt across all continents and the oceans.
It warns that further emission rises will increase the likelihood of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”
The report will be finalised after governments and scientists go over it line-by-line at a meeting in Copenhagen in October.
The leaked report, which has been circulated to several media outlets, shows temperatures have already increased by 0.85°C since 1880—a more rapid shift in the climate than that which heralded the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago.
It also raises the risk that climate change and its impacts could worsen violent conflicts and refugee problems, hinder efforts to grow more food and threaten public health.
Ocean acidification, which comes from the added carbon absorbed by the oceans, could also harm marine life, the draft warns.
“Climate change risks are likely to be high or very high by the end of the 21st century” without sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, it says.
It is hoped the new report will focus minds ahead of the global UN climate talks to take place in Lima, Peru in December, where governments are expected to lay the groundwork for the crucial Paris Summit in late 2015.
It is here where countries have agreed to finalise a new global treaty on climate change.
In 2009, countries had agreed to set a goal of limiting global warming to below 2°C—the international agreed danger threshold for climate change.
However, the leaked IPCC report warns it is increasingly likely the world will shoot past this point, and that limiting warming to within this level would require dramatic and immediate cuts in carbon pollution.
Without action to limit the levels of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, it warns temperatures could increase by 2°C by mid-century compared to 1986 to 2005.
But the end of the century, that scenario could bring temperatures that are 3.7°C warming, it warns.
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A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."
The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
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