Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Issues Report

A panel of global scientists issued a report this weekoutlining the impact an increase in global temperatures of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels would mean for the earth’s ecosystems and humans. The report was commissioned at the time the Paris Climate Accord was signed in 2015.  

The report indicates that the earth is currently approximately 1°C (Centigrade) above pre-industrial levels, “with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C,” and is “likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.” The time period 1850-1900 is used as the reference point for “pre-industrial” global mean surface temperature. The report further indicates that “[r]isks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are projected in increase with global warming of 1.5°C and increase further with 2°C.”

Though controversy continues about climate change, this report reflects the belief that global warming is occurring and that it is being caused, at least partly, by human activity. In his encyclical of the environment, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis expresses concern for the state of the environment and calls climate change “one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.” (No. 25) “If present trends continue,” he states, “this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us.” (No. 24)