4 December, 2022


How Global Warming Will Change The World: The IPCC’s Special Report On 1.5 Degrees 

By Dennis Mombauer –

Dennis Mombauer

This week in Incheon, the IPCC will finalize and release its most comprehensive and critical report on climate change for years to come. Its findings will show the profound impacts on human life and the decisive actions necessary to keep global temperature rise below 2 or 1.5 degrees Celsius. If the world as we know it is to survive climate change, this report is required reading for everyone.

Climate change is real. Its impacts cannot be overstated, and they do not wait in the future or hide in far-flung reaches of the globe. Climate change is happening now and happening everywhere, from developing to developed nations, from North to South and East to West.

The 2015 Paris Agreement has set the governments of the world on a path of mitigation and adaptation, and the Conference of the Parties (COP24) in December 2018 will assess their collective commitments (the Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs) and efforts.

Global Warming: 1.5 Versus 2 Degrees

The key goal of the Paris Agreement is to keep the rise of global mean temperatures below 2 and ideally below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Since the 1850s, the world has already passed 1 degree of global warming, and things are about to get much worse if tipping points are reached and impacts become irreversible. All current commitments made under the Paris Agreement will together still lead to a global warming of over 3 degrees by the end of the century.

Anything more than a 1.5-degree rise could lead to catastrophic impacts around the globe. Climate change poses an existential threat to billions of people, many of them in the poorest regions of the world: from island nations swallowed by the sea to flooded coastal megacities, extreme storms, mass displacement, and droughts that will cripple agricultural production and turn vast lands into desert.

The disparities between a 1.5- and a 2-degree scenario are immense. With 1.5 degrees, only half the number of people around the globe will suffer from heat extremes and water scarcity; the risk of heavy precipitation decreases by one third; and sea levels will rise by 10 cm less till 2100, a difference of life and death for many small island states.

A Report of Critical Importance

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meets this week (October 1-5) in Incheon, South Korea to finalize its “Special Report on 1.5 Degrees”. Scientists and government delegates from around the world will go word by word through the 15-page summary and agree on a final version that the IPCC will publish on October 8th, three days after the session.

86 lead authors from 39 countries, nominated by governments and institutions, have compiled this report over more than two years. They have evaluated an extremely wide range of literature and cite over 6,000 references in the report. Their findings rest on the broadest possible consensus and are beyond doubt.

While the exact wording of the report will only be published on October 8th, its cornerstones are already known. The report is expected to say that the target of 1.5 degrees will require much more drastic steps to be achieved. Cuts to CO2 emissions, a rapid move to renewable energy, changes in lifestyle and consumption, and possibly a technological effort to scrub greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere will be among the main actions recommended by the report.

Keeping global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees is still possible, and given the findings on the 2-degree scenario and the enormous differences to the 1.5-degree one, it has never been more essential to try everything in our power to do so.


Whether global warming reaches 1.5, 2, or 3.5 degrees, the world will change dramatically over the next decades. There cannot be a neutral stance on climate change, only different courses of action.

If the signatories to the Paris Agreement want to keep true to their ambitions and achieve their stated goals, they will need to commit to urgent and far-reaching actions at the December conference in Katowice, Poland. Climate change mitigation is now the highest priority for the world and requires political, economic, technological, social, and personal efforts to succeed.

The IPCC report will be the most comprehensive and critical report on climate change for years to come. Its findings will show the profound impacts on human life and the decisive actions necessary to keep global temperature rise below 2 or 1.5 degrees Celsius. If the world as we know it is to survive climate change, this report is required reading for everyone.

*Dennis Mombauer (@DMombauer) currently lives in Colombo as a freelance writer and researcher on climate change and education. He focuses on ecosystem-based adaptation and sustainable urban development as well as on autism spectrum disorder in the field of education. Besides articles and research, he has published numerous works of fiction in German and English.

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Latest comments

  • 0

    Sri Lanka’s development model is based on the consumption of fossil energy, helping the world reach that ‘tipping point’ a bit faster. Tragic but the IPCC report will make no difference to the political priorities, which at the moment is not the well-being of the nation let alone the planet

    • 0

      Who is this Dennis guy and why is he overstating climate change?!
      Disaster preparedeness, tsunami threat and other natural and man-made disaster predictions is huge Billion dollar fake news and fake security threats industry today – to sell insurance and guns and technical fixes to political and social problems of global inequality and poverty.
      “Disaster preparedness” is a theme song that is part of weapons and technology” solutions” manufacturers and their Insecurity industry, or the gig and gimmick new techno-industry to spread surveillance via various technology systems, and then develop and mine big data to benefit the technology giants and global 1 percent and, of course, intelligence industry like CIA..

      Last week World Bank had a seminar in Colombo on disaster preparedness with dire predictions of Lankans suffering global warming in order to push bio-metric ID cards and surveillance on Lankans through the back door. The Washington institution claimed that having biometric and other economic data would enable targeting disaster relief to the needy, what a joke!
      The Lankan rupee crashing NOW and cost of living going up and causing poverty due to World Bank, ADB, IMF policy advice to put Lanka in a debt trap is the far greater disaster than global warming in 30 years time!
      Also, ADB and WB has been promoting sales of Japanese and US cars by giving loans to corrupt politicians to build high ways, rather than public transport that is more environmentally friendly!

  • 0

    Mercifully Sri Lanka is blessed with ample sources of renewable energy, mainly solar energy and wind power in addition to the existing sources of hydro power. The oceanic thermal gradient off the coast of Trincomalee could also be exploited. The main set back in renewable energy is the storage facility. Let us all hope that there will be some major technical breakthrough in that field before long. In the meantime every effort should be made to minimise carbon emissions into the atmosphere!

  • 0

    Thanks Dennis Mombauer for drawing our attention to the climate change tsunami about to hit us. Unfortunately there are some, like in other parts of the world, waiting to make money out of the tsunami.
    We are not climate change skeptics.
    Yes, we tend to attach more importance to trivialities like who came to the island first! Sinhalese or Tamils.
    Paucity of comments? Because we tend to get childishly excited if ‘human rights’ is mentioned.
    By the way, Dr Ranil Senanayake has written extensively on climate change.

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