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When petulant children refuse to do their homework, enterprising parents have a solution: Turn it into a game. Now, scientists are taking a page from the books of creative parents to tackle an even more difficult challenge—climate change.

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Plummeting populations in a huge Alaska wildlife refuge might be caused by climate change and plastics.

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In September 2018, leaders in climate action within and outside the U.S. will convene in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit. They plan to demonstrate strong ongoing commitment to exceeding the goals set out in the Paris Agreement, despite U.S. federal opposition under President Trump, and to spur greater ambition among subnational governments and the private sector. Now that the Trump Administration is working to undo the progress made under President Obama, it is more important than ever that states and cities, as well as the private sector, redouble their efforts. Since the 2016 election, many U.S. states have demonstrated leadership by establishing ever-more ambitious clean energy and electric vehicle targets through legislation and executive action; by pushing back on the Trump Administration in public forums and in the courts; and by banding together to realise greater effectiveness through collective action. The commitment of leading states, cities, and businesses alone will not be enough to achieve the rapid reductions needed to keep planetary warming to 1.5 degrees C in the absence of U.S. federal efforts. But coming after a summer of extreme weather events, the Summit represents a critical opportunity to re-energise constituencies, highlight the need for urgent and ambitious action, and bring climate change to the forefront of policy conversations across the U.S. and beyond.

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The “bold action” needed to address the climate crisis could deliver at least US$26 trillion in economic benefits through 2030, while producing more than 65 million low-carbon jobs, preventing 700,000 premature deaths, and generating $2.8 trillion in government revenues in that year, according to a blockbuster report issued this morning by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.
The report identifies the next two to three years as the “critical window” when the investment decisions that shape the next 10 to 15 years will be taken.

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The body of new research in response to the IPCC’s call for papers for its 1.5°C special report shows that even an additional half a degree of global warming would bring a wealth of negative impacts on most natural and human systems around the world. It would also constitute a severe hurdle to poverty reduction.

On a brighter note, the research strongly suggests that some of the dire consequences of future global warming can be avoided by restricting the global mean temperature rise to 1.5ºC (above pre-industrial levels).

Although it requires drastic societal transformations, the 1.5˚C objective is still geophysically feasible: whether it will be achieved depends on the concerted action of the global community to overcome political obstacles and curtail the future rates of emissions. However, the scientific evidence shows that, without a doubt, the benefits are worth this effort.

In this blog, we give an overview of the most important of the recent 1.5˚C studies on climate impacts and extreme events. Much of it will be synthesised in the IPCC special report, due out in October, which will be a key document for setting the course of climate policy at a global level.

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