United Nations climate report calls for immediate action to curb global warming

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Working Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II addresses impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III deals with the mitigation of climate change.

The IPCC report said at the current rate of warming, the world's temperatures would likely reach 1.5C between 2030 and 2052 after an increase of 1C above pre-industrial levels since the mid-1800s.

And if we hold warming to 1.5 degrees instead of 2 degrees, the report suggests global sea level rise will be a whole 10 centimetres lower - potentially stopping what the report describes as a "disproportionately rapid evacuation" of people from the tropics.

It is based on more than 6,000 scientific references and contributions from thousands of experts and government reviewers around the world.

To give you a sense of what's at stake, here are five of the most disturbing facts and predictions to come from the newly published report.

The report was prepared at the request of governments when the global pact to tackle climate change was agreed in Paris almost three years ago.

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A stark new report from the global scientific authority on climate change calls on individuals, as well as governments, to take action to avoid disastrous levels of global warming. "If you would like to stabilize global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius the key message is that net Carbon dioxide emissions at the global scale must reach zero by 2050".

They're calling for "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes" across society to prevent world temperatures from rising by two degrees Celsius.

"The reality is that we're very off track from where we need to be", says Rachel Cleetus, policy director for the Climate and Energy Program at the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists, who was not involved with the new report.

The Paris Agreement was adopted by 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2015, and created to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change.

Even with the promises countries have made as part of the Paris Agreement to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, the world is set to breach the 1.5C threshold by around 2040.

The targets rely on increased use of renewable energy, to the point that they product 70 to 85% of electricity supplies by 2050.

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"Within the next decade or so, we will need to radically change the way we build our houses, move from one place to another and grow our food", said 350.org in a statement.

Countries in the southern hemisphere would see the most drastic effects.

Professor Corinne Le Quere, from the University of East Anglia, said: "For the United Kingdom, this means a rapid switch to renewable energy and electric cars, insulating our homes, planting trees, where possible walking or cycling and eating well - more plants and less meat - and developing an industry to capture carbon and store it underground".

Greens climate spokesman Adam Bandt said the report showed it was "time to hit the climate emergency button", and neither major party was prepared to take the necessary steps.

While more than 180 countries have accepted the report's summary, the United States (which is the second biggest emitter in the world) said that their acceptance of the report does not "imply endorsement" of the findings.

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