IPCC Special Report 15 – Global warming of 1.5degC


The IPCC SR15 was released on 8 October 2018 with the strong messages that we have only 12 years to limit global warming to 1.5 degC.

“The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2ºC.”IPCC SR15 press release


Figure from the IPCC SR15 Report, page 13


Particular concerns for us in Reading, from those issues highlighted, include:

  • Flooding
  • Crop yields – with impacts on food availability / cost
  • Extreme heat – with potential for heat-related deaths
  • Knock on effects from other parts of the world that are exposed to more of highlighted risks

Notice that global temperatures have already risen by 1 degC, and we are already seeing the extreme weather events associated with this level of warming.

Mitigation pathways

Figure from the IPCC SR15 Report, page 6


It is sobering to notice that our current trajectory is to hit 1.5 degC by 2040. It doesn’t have to be that way though, and SR15 details how we can reduce emissions to meet the 1.5 degC target.

Figure from the IPCC SR15 Report, page 6


Reflecting on this graph: there is a massive job that we need to do…not least to fundamentally change the political and economic focus towards tackling this.

  • Happily we have a start with the Zero Carbon Reading work that Reading Borough Council have done
  • There is reason to be optimistic about the UK (see Emissions pages (chrisbeales.net)) if we can regain our focus
  • Whatever happens though we need to get ready to adapt to the changing climate…and the less we do to cut emissions, the harder this is going to be.


Chris Beales, RCCP Chair, Oct 2018


What can I do about climate change?

With the latest IPCC report published today on the urgent need for co-ordinated global action on climate change, we thought an article on how to make your own contribution would be timely. Here are 10 simple tips to save energy in your home:

  1. Switch all your light bulbs to LEDs. Not only do they use 90% less electricity than old-fashioned filament light bulbs, and 50% less than compact fluorescents, but they last significantly longer too!
  2. Check the timer settings for your hot water. As a guide, 30 minutes morning and evening should be sufficient for 1 person. Settings of at least 60˚C are recommended for safety reasons, but also check your settings are not too high.
  3. Unless you live in Castle (i.e. have very thick walls), switch off your heating when you are out, which is much cheaper than leaving it running.
  4. Every additional 1C of heating adds 8% to your energy bills. Setting at 19-20 ˚C is the generally recommended temperature.
  5. If you’re feeling a little chilly, make your first response to be putting on an extra layer!
  6. Check your loft is well insulated (27cm insulation is the recommended standard) and if you have cavity walls, get these checked too.
  7. Unless heavily soiled, wash your clothes wash at 30C, and only when you have a full load
  8. Use that microwave sparingly! Defrost food naturally whenever possible
  9. Defrost your freezer regularly; particularly when you can see ice starting to build up
  10. Whenever possible, put a lid on your pans when cooking on the hob!

For more advice, visit the Energy Saving Trust – http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/