Fiji Time: 4:10 PM on Monday 22 January

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Race against time

Avinesh Gopal In Berlin
Thursday, May 18, 2017

THERE is a need to get carbon emissions below two degrees by the middle of the century if the Paris Agreement is to be fulfilled, says climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf.

Mr Rahmstorf said global warming was mentioned for the first time in 1975 in a paper by an American who had made a prediction.

He said in the 1970s, a small minority of scientists predicted another ice age, but it was not right.

Also, he said it was too late to stop the sea level from rising.

"There is coral bleaching along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia," he said.

"Reducing emissions by two degrees is not enough. We have to go to 1.5 degrees if we are to have good coral reefs. What we really need to get to below two degrees as in the Paris Agreement is lower the carbon emissions.

"The good news is that emissions haven't risen too much in recent years.

"And if we are to fulfil the Paris Agreement, then we have to get emissions to zero by the middle of the century."

Mr Rahmstorf said it was a race against time to bring global warming to below two degrees.

"Land is very limited in this planet and we will be doing well if we can feed the population without going to burn energy," he said.

He also told The Fiji Times in Berlin, Germany that he had applied for a job in Fiji to deal with Small Island Developing States.

Meanwhile, climate analyst Carl-Friedrich Schleussner said studies showed 93 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef was bleached. He said estimating the economic impacts of climate change was challenging.

He said research in the Pacific showed fisheries stock had gone down significantly because of the climate impact.

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