Singapore will update climate projections no earlier than 2021: MEWR

NEO CHAI CHIN Today Online 9 Oct 18;

SINGAPORE — To do more to limit global warming, Singapore can reduce the use of natural gas for its energy needs, boost the efficiency of buildings and transportation, and share environmental solutions with counterparts in South-east Asia, experts in the field said.

Their comments came in the wake of a new report by a United Nations body that said there would have to be “unprecedented” changes to the way people generate and consume energy, use land and live, in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Responding to the same report published on Monday (Oct 8), Singapore’s Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) said that it would update the country’s climate projections no earlier than 2021.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C was issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from South Korea — where scientists and government representatives were, for the past week, considering what could happen to the planet and its population when temperatures warm by 1.5°C.

Scientists agreed that, more than ever, every bit of warming mattered. Current pledges by governments would at best yield warming of 3°C by the end of the century.

Asked if Singapore would relook its pledge as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement, MEWR said that the special report does not change Singapore’s assessment from its Second National Climate Change Study developed in 2015.

The 2015 study was based on the IPCC’s fifth assessment report, which accounted for future scenarios including warming of 1.5°C to 2°C and more, a ministry spokesperson said.

Based on this study, there is an elevated risk that Singapore will experience more extreme temperatures in a 2°C world, compared to a 1.5°C world.

“The special report does not change this assessment,” the spokesperson said.

“As part of our Paris Agreement pledge, Singapore has committed to put in place a holistic range of mitigation measures across various sectors to reduce our emissions. This includes improving our industrial energy efficiency and greening our buildings. We also announced the implementation of a carbon tax from 2019,” he added.

“The IPCC’s sixth assessment report is due to be published in 2021. We will update Singapore’s climate projections after (it) is released.”


In the past week, officials from the ministry and the National Climate Change Secretariat were in South Korea for the IPCC meeting.

The delegation was supported by Assistant Professor Winston Chow from the National University of Singapore’s geography department. Asst Prof Chow is a lead author for the IPCC’s sixth assessment report.

For mitigation, the biggest impact for Singapore would be to move away from using natural gas for power generation, towards the greater use of renewable energy such as solar or wind, Asst Prof Chow said.

About 95 per cent of Singapore’s electricity is produced from natural gas.

He told TODAY that natural gas is “the cleanest fossil fuel, but a fossil fuel no less”.

Singapore does not have the luxury of other mitigation efforts such as afforestation or carbon capture and storage, which require large-scale areas to be effective, Asst Prof Chow said.

Apart from tapping renewable energy, there is still potential for buildings and transportation in Singapore to reduce energy demand by becoming more energy-efficient or by using low-emission fuels, he added.


Agreeing on the need to de-carbonise, Professor Benjamin Horton from Nanyang Technological University’s Asian School of the Environment said that “urban planning is much needed”.

Much of existing climate research is oriented around technologies — air quality, water, fuel cells and biofuels, for instance. “A focus on technology, though common, is too narrow for South-east Asia,” he said.

Prof Horton, who is a review editor of the IPCC’s sixth assessment report, noted that Asia is rapidly catching up in understanding the causes of environmental problems and solutions. South-east Asian policymakers may be aware of the challenges facing the fragile ecosystems, but there are few places they can turn to for insight and advice.

“Of the 28 planning schools in South-east Asia, apparently none has a teaching programme on climate change. Education on planning for climate change is urgently required,” he added.

Singapore has experience in innovative urban planning and technological and urban governance models, Prof Horton said.

The Asian School of the Environment, which he chairs, aims to provide broad-based guidance on environmental policies in the region.

On the need to take action, Prof Horton said that the Paris Agreement must be upheld and strengthened. “Failure to radically cut global carbon emissions will mean disasters, such as the ones we have seen this summer, will become the new normal.”

Last month, Typhoon Mangkhut hit the Philippines, causing flooding and destruction. It is the world’s strongest storm by far since Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Such superstorms have led to more discussions among researchers on how climate change plays a role in their formation.

Prof Horton said: “No nation, whether it’s large or small, rich or poor, will be immune from the impacts of climate and environmental change. We are already experiencing it in Singapore, where we are seeing floods on sunny days, extreme rainfall, winds and temperatures.”


International environmental organisations called on nations to respond to the IPCC’s special report.

Dr Andrew Steer, president and chief executive of the World Resources Institute, said: “The IPCC report is a wake-up call for slumbering world leaders.”

The devastation that would come with today’s 3 to 4°C trajectory would be vastly greater, and it is the poor who will be most affected, he said.

Dr Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists and former lead author of the IPCC, said that at the annual UN climate talks in Poland this December, countries should “commit to strengthen policies that cut global warming emissions, invest in measures to limit future climate risks, and do more to help communities cope with the climate impacts that are now unavoidable”.

“In addition, wealthier nations that bear greater responsibility for the global warming problem need to ramp up financial and technology support for actions by developing nations, to help create a better world for all of us.”


Under the global Paris climate agreement, Singapore has committed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions per dollar of gross domestic product by 36 per cent come 2030 — down from 2005 levels.

It is looking to stabilise emissions with the aim of peaking around the target year of 2030.

Last year, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said that by 2020, 5,500 public housing blocks will have solar panels, tripling the deployment of solar energy to 350 megawatt-peak, up from 126 megawatt-peak.

The plan is to have more than 1 gigawatt-peak after 2020, which will represent about 15 per cent of electrical power demand at peak during the day, Mr Teo said.

The Paris agreement, which will take effect after 2020, aims to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C, and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

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Wild boars found trapped in cage off Sime Road

Channel NewsAsia 8 Oct 18;

SINGAPORE: Two adult wild boars and three piglets were found in a trap off Sime Road near the Central Catchment Nature Reserve on Sunday (Oct 7).

"The pigs were found very distressed, desperately trying to get out by knocking themselves on the metal cage," said Ms Anbarasi Boopal, deputy chief executive of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES).

"They also appeared stressed from the vehicle traffic just on the road."

A member of the public had alerted ACRES to the matter, said Member of Parliament Louis Ng, who is the founder and chief executive of ACRES.

He shared a video of the trapped animals on Facebook, saying investigations into who laid the trap are ongoing.

ACRES said it arrived at the scene at about 4pm, adding that it took about 20 minutes to rescue the animals.

"We had to carefully cover the cage on all sides to minimise the stress, climb on top of the cage to open the cage door safely so they can run out to the forests and not to the road," said Ms Boopal.

She added that some leftover corn was found in the cage, and that the boars could have been trapped in the late morning or early afternoon on Sunday.

ACRES said it has not come across any wild boars caught in traps at Sime Road prior to this incident, although it has investigated more than 20 cases of wildlife poaching in Singapore, especially birds, in 2017.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said it had received public feedback about wild boars trapped at Sime Road on Sunday afternoon and responded to the incident with ACRES.

The trap was removed after the animals were released into the forest, it said.

The authority said it was investigating the case, and urged members of the public to come forward if they had relevant information.

"In Singapore, it is an offence to kill, take or keep any wild animal without a licence from AVA," said the authority. "Offenders, upon conviction, can be fined up to S$1,000 per wild animal, and the forfeiture of the wild animal."

It added that this was the first such case that AVA had encountered this year.

Last August, ACRES responded to a case of wild boars being illegally trapped in Segar Road in Bukit Panjang. It was one of at least three cases that the group has been alerted to in the past couple of years.

Members of the public can report relevant information to AVA at 6805 2992 or via an online feedback form at

Source: CNA/ic/nc/(gs/hm)

Family of 2 wild boars and 3 piglets found distressed, trapped in cage off Sime Road
Ng Huiwen Straits Times 8 Oct 18;

SINGAPORE - A family of five wild boars, including three piglets, were found trapped and in distress in a metal cage off Sime Road, just outside the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, on Sunday afternoon (Oct 7).

MP Louis Ng, who is also the founder and chief executive of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), said in a Facebook post on Sunday night that a member of the public had alerted Acres to the case.

The Acres team has rescued the animals and released them back into the wild, he said, adding that the trap has also been removed.

He said that investigations on who laid the trap are ongoing.

Acres deputy chief executive Anbarasi Boopal told The Straits Times on Monday that the trap appears to be targeted at wild boars, as it was "quite big in size" at about 1.2m by 1.8m. The cage also had food bait, such as corn.

Acres received a call on its wildlife rescue hotline at about 3.30pm and a team arrived at the location at about 4pm.

Officers from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority arrived about 15 minutes later, said Ms Anbarasi, 35.

While she is unsure when the animals were caught, she believes that it was likely on Sunday morning or early afternoon.

She added that this was the first time Acres had come across a trap placed at the site and that the wild boars appeared to be in great distress.

"I saw a piglet climbing on top of the mother pig, and the two adults were repeatedly pushing against the cage, trying to get out. They were clearly very stressed out," she said.

The cage was also found by the side of a road that had vehicular traffic, which could have further agitated the animals.

Ms Anbarasi said that the Acres team safely released the wild boars by covering the cage with a cloth, before going on top of the cage to lift the trap door.

The team took about 15 minutes, after ensuring that the animals were not injured and that there were no vehicles around.

Fortunately, the family of wild boars had been trapped together and none of them had been crushed when the trap door shut, Ms Anbarasi said.

"It could have gone wrong in so many ways, for example, if the piglets had been left outside on their own. And if a piglet was crushed and injured by the heavy trap door, it could eventually die from the stress."

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) told ST that it received one piece of feedback from the public about the case, and responded to the incident with Acres.

Investigations are ongoing. Offenders convicted of killing, taking or keeping any wild animal without an AVA license can be fined up to $1,000 per wild animal, and will have to forfeit the animal.

Members of the public who have information on the case can report it to AVA on 6805-2992 or through AVA's online feedback form, the authority added.

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Malaysia: NGOs team up with locals in elephant conservation efforts

Olivia Miwil New Straits Times 8 Oct 18;

TELUPID: Non-governmental organisations (NGO) are teaming up with locals here to create a sustainable model to support humans and elephants co-existence in the landscape.

A Community Elephant Ranger Team (CERT) based here, which was formed in March, comprises of trained volunteers from Kampung Liningkung, Kampung Bauto, Kampung Gambaron and Kampung Telupid to help in monitoring elephant migrations between Telupid, Beluran and Tongod.

This year, Sabah has recorded 26 elephant deaths in the east coast to date with over 100 elephants sighted visiting the Telupid area including wandering into Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Telupid in March.

Back in 1972, elephants lived on a flat area known as Gana, which is close to the Labuk river in Telupid.

However the elephants moved out from the place when there was a huge forest fire in 1985 and they were not sighted for many years until they recently reappeared in human settlements.

One of the CERT members Romineshon Kumpil said local communities have to find ways to live in harmony with the elephants via their project dubbed as “Human Elephant Harmony".

The 22-month project is funded by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry through Forever Sabah, with partnership with Dr Nurzhafarina Othman (Seratu Aatai Project), Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC), HUTAN's Kinabatangan Orang Utan Conservation Project (HUTAN-KOCP), the Sabah Forestry Department and the Sabah Wildlife Department.

“We can now contribute geoinformatics data to inform on wildlife mitigation projects,” Romineshon said in a press statement.

Elephant herd movement data is still being collected and analysed to ascertain factors that influence herds’ distribution around Telupid.

As for now, it is known that while big plantations can fence out the elephants, smallholders’ plots were often severely damaged.

Some villages and infrastructure lay in the elephants’ migration routes but the rural communities lacked the resources to solve these issues alone.

“CERT also has geoinformatics data to show that the proposed Pan-Borneo Highway routing overlaps with the natural trails that are heavily used by the herds.

“Besides cutting off elephant migration routes, roads built in inappropriate areas will cause vehicular accidents with elephants, especially at night when visibility is low,” the statement said.

Besides that, the team is also working with its partners for collecting field data to inform on the design and routing of electric fences.

Meanwhile, the project facilitator Claudia Lasimbang said, any new development for infrastructure or industrial crop, should consider the inputs and engagement with the local indigenous community who understand local wildlife more than anyone else.

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UN report on global warming carries life-or-death warning

Seth Borenstein, Associate Press Yahoo News 8 Oct 18;

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Preventing an extra single degree of heat could make a life-or-death difference in the next few decades for multitudes of people and ecosystems on this fast-warming planet, an international panel of scientists reported Sunday. But they provide little hope the world will rise to the challenge.

The Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its gloomy report at a meeting in Incheon, South Korea.

In the 728-page document, the U.N. organization detailed how Earth's weather, health and ecosystems would be in better shape if the world's leaders could somehow limit future human-caused warming to just 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (a half degree Celsius) from now, instead of the globally agreed-upon goal of 1.8 degrees F (1 degree C). Among other things:

— Half as many people would suffer from lack of water.

— There would be fewer deaths and illnesses from heat, smog and infectious diseases.

— Seas would rise nearly 4 inches (0.1 meters) less.

— Half as many animals with back bones and plants would lose the majority of their habitats.

— There would be substantially fewer heat waves, downpours and droughts.

— The West Antarctic ice sheet might not kick into irreversible melting.

— And it just may be enough to save most of the world's coral reefs from dying.

"For some people this is a life-or-death situation without a doubt," said Cornell University climate scientist Natalie Mahowald, a lead author on the report.

Limiting warming to 0.9 degrees from now means the world can keep "a semblance" of the ecosystems we have. Adding another 0.9 degrees on top of that — the looser global goal — essentially means a different and more challenging Earth for people and species, said another of the report's lead authors, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, Australia.

But meeting the more ambitious goal of slightly less warming would require immediate, draconian cuts in emissions of heat-trapping gases and dramatic changes in the energy field. While the U.N. panel says technically that's possible, it saw little chance of the needed adjustments happening.

In 2010, international negotiators adopted a goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) since pre-industrial times. It's called the 2-degree goal. In 2015, when the nations of the world agreed to the historic Paris climate agreement, they set dual goals: 2 degrees C and a more demanding target of 1.5 degrees C from pre-industrial times. The 1.5 was at the urging of vulnerable countries that called 2 degrees a death sentence.

The world has already warmed 1 degree C since pre-industrial times, so the talk is really about the difference of another half-degree C or 0.9 degrees F from now.

"There is no definitive way to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 above pre-industrial levels," the U.N.-requested report said. More than 90 scientists wrote the report, which is based on more than 6,000 peer reviews.

"Global warming is likely to reach 1.5 degrees C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate," the report states.

Deep in the report, scientists say less than 2 percent of 529 of their calculated possible future scenarios kept warming below the 1.5 goal without the temperature going above that and somehow coming back down in the future.

The pledges nations made in the Paris agreement in 2015 are "clearly insufficient to limit warming to 1.5 in any way," one of the study's lead authors, Joerj Roeglj of the Imperial College in London, said.

"I just don't see the possibility of doing the one and a half" and even 2 degrees looks unlikely, said Appalachian State University environmental scientist Gregg Marland, who isn't part of the U.N. panel but has tracked global emissions for decades for the U.S. Energy Department. He likened the report to an academic exercise wondering what would happen if a frog had wings.

Yet report authors said they remain optimistic.

Limiting warming to the lower goal is "not impossible but will require unprecedented changes," U.N. panel chief Hoesung Lee said in a news conference in which scientists repeatedly declined to spell out just how feasible that goal is. They said it is up to governments to decide whether those unprecedented changes are acted upon.

"We have a monumental task in front of us, but it is not impossible," Mahowald said earlier. "This is our chance to decide what the world is going to look like."

To limit warming to the lower temperature goal, the world needs "rapid and far-reaching" changes in energy systems, land use, city and industrial design, transportation and building use, the report said. Annual carbon dioxide pollution levels that are still rising now would have to drop by about half by 2030 and then be near zero by 2050. Emissions of other greenhouse gases, such as methane, also will have to drop. Switching away rapidly from fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas to do this could be more expensive than the less ambitious goal, but it would clean the air of other pollutants. And that would have the side benefit of avoiding more than 100 million premature deaths through this century, the report said.

"Climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming" the report said, adding that the world's poor are more likely to get hit hardest.

Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer said extreme weather, especially heat waves, will be deadlier if the lower goal is passed.

Meeting the tougher-to-reach goal "could result in around 420 million fewer people being frequently exposed to extreme heat waves, and about 65 million fewer people being exposed to exceptional heat waves," the report said. The deadly heat waves that hit India and Pakistan in 2015 will become practically yearly events if the world reaches the hotter of the two goals, the report said.

Coral and other ecosystems are also at risk. The report said warmer water coral reefs "will largely disappear."

The outcome will determine whether "my grandchildren would get to see beautiful coral reefs," Princeton's Oppenheimer said.

For scientists there is a bit of "wishful thinking" that the report will spur governments and people to act quickly and strongly, one of the panel's leaders, German biologist Hans-Otto Portner, said. "If action is not taken it will take the planet into an unprecedented climate future."

'Tipping points' could exacerbate climate crisis, scientists fear
IPCC report ‘underestimates potential of these key dangers to send Earth into spiral of runaway climate change’
Fiona Harvey The Guardian 9 Oct 18;

Key dangers largely left out of the IPCC special report on 1.5C of warming are raising alarm among some scientists who fear we may have underestimated the impacts of humans on the Earth’s climate.

The IPCC report sets out the world’s current knowledge of the impacts of 1.5C of warming and clearly shows the dangers of breaching such a limit. However, many scientists are increasingly worried about factors about which we know much less.

These “known unknowns” of climate change are tipping points, or feedback mechanisms within the climate system – thresholds that, if passed, could send the Earth into a spiral of runaway climate change.

Tipping points merit only a few mentions in the IPCC report. Durwood Zaelke, founder of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, said: “The IPCC report fails to focus on the weakest link in the climate chain: the self-reinforcing feedbacks which, if allowed to continue, will accelerate warming and risk cascading climate tipping points and runaway warming.”

He pointed to water vapour in the air, which traps heat in the atmosphere, as well as the loss of polar ice, the collapse of permafrost, and the migration of tropical clouds towards the poles.

Ice melting at the poles is known to be of particular danger. The Earth’s ice caps act as reflectors, sending some of the sun’s rays back into space and cooling the planet. When sea ice melts, it reveals dark water underneath, which absorbs more heat and in turn triggers greater warming, in a constant feedback loop.

Ice on land, such as in Greenland and under much of the Antarctic, may contain yet another feedback loop; when the ice melts, water percolates to the land below where it lubricates the slide of ice over rock and could accelerate the collapse of glaciers into the surrounding sea.

Bob Ward, of the Grantham Institute, said: “The IPCC summary for policymakers only mentions the west Antarctica and Greenland tipping points, which we may already have reached.”

The full report of the IPCC reflects our lack of knowledge of the full potential of tipping points, he said: “The underlying report suggests that the other tipping points are too poorly understood, or not likely to be triggered until higher amounts of warming – but given their consequences, one would expect a more risk-based approach. That is, you don’t ignore them until you know them to be impossible.”

One of the problems with tipping point thresholds is that we may not know when they are reached. Robert Larter, of the British Antarctic Survey, called polar ice sheets “sleeping giants”, which if they pass a tipping point will cause devastation.

“As ice sheets melted after the last glacial period, there were times when sea level rose at a rate of more than three metres per century, an order of magnitude faster than the current rate,” he said. “This implies that there are situations in which ice sheets can melt much more rapidly than they have over the period we have been observing them. We should be very cautious about disturbing these sleeping giants.”

Another issue with melting ice is that it uncovers and destabilises permafrost. This layer is known to contain vast quantities of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas with a warming effect many times that of carbon dioxide. Melting permafrost will release that gas into the atmosphere, with unpredictable consequences.

Further unknowns include the effects of climate change on carbon sinks, such as soils and forests: higher temperatures could dry out some soils, causing them to release stored carbon into the air. But increased rainfall – a symptom of climate change in some regions – could in other areas be making it harder for forest soils to trap greenhouse gases such as methane.

Mario Molina, who shared the Nobel prize in chemistry in 1995 for his work on depletion of the ozone layer, said: “The IPCC report demonstrates that it is still possible to keep the climate relatively safe, provided we muster an unprecedented level of cooperation, extraordinary speed and heroic scale of action. But even with its description of the increasing impacts that lie ahead, the IPCC understates a key risk: that self-reinforcing feedback loops could push the climate system into chaos before we have time to tame our energy system, and the other sources of climate pollution.”

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Little-noticed treaty could help delay climate catastrophe

2016 Kigali amendment on hydrofluorocarbons could reduce warming by a small but crucial 0.5C
Fiona Harvey The Guardian 8 Oct 18;

From the beginning of next year, a new global pact will take effect that could have a profound impact on climate change, cutting harmful greenhouse gas emissions by amounts that could help stave off some of the worst impacts predicted by the IPCC.

This little-noticed treaty has nothing to do with the Paris accord, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations that have dragged on since 1992, or energy sector emissions, which have resumed their rise.

The Kigali amendment, which was agreed on 15 October 2016 and comes into force on 1 January, will drastically reduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These heat-trapping gases are the byproduct of industrial processes such as refrigeration and can be eliminated from those processes by re-engineering. The amendment comes under the Montreal Protocol, the world’s most successful international environmental treaty, which aims to stop the depletion of the ozone layer.

HFCs are prime examples of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), a range of chemicals that are spewed into the atmosphere by human activities and contribute to global warming. While attempts to reduce climate change have rightly focused on the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, mostly produced from our use of fossil fuels, these other substances have been largely ignored.

Experts estimate that cutting down on SLCPs could reduce global warming by as much as 0.5C. That would not be enough to avoid the worst effects of climate change if we continue to burn fossil fuels, but it could buy humanity some much-needed time while carbon emissions are brought under better control.

“The only way to slow near-term feedbacks [which could drive climate change past tipping points] in the 15- to 20-year window before we lose control to runaway warming is to cut the SLCPs, which can provide considerably more avoided warming at mid-century than cuts to carbon dioxide can provide,” said Durwood Zaelke, founder of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development and a reviewer of the IPCC report on the effects of 1.5C warming. “In fact, [they could provide] two to six times more [than carbon cuts].”

He said the IPCC had recognised their importance. “This is the IPCC’s first acknowledgement that cutting the super pollutants – black carbon, methane, HFCs – is essential for keeping the climate safe. These cuts are the fastest way to slow down warming while we decarbonise the energy system and learn how to remove carbon from the atmosphere at the scale we need.”

Many SLCPs break down relatively quickly in the atmosphere, unlike carbon dioxide, which can stick around for a century. But while they are present, they can have a greater impact: some HFCs have a global warming potential more than 11,000 times greater than that of carbon dioxide.

The Kigali amendment, by avoiding the equivalent of up to 90bn tonnes of CO2 by 2050, could be “perhaps the single most significant contribution to keeping warming well below 2C, aiming for the still safer 1.5C,” Zaelke told the Guardian.

A recent report, before the IPCC publication, by Oxfam and the World Resources Institute found that reducing SLCPs warranted a much greater focus than it has received in climate change efforts. “In the near term, taking fast, ambitious action to reduce SLCPs is particularly vital to keeping temperature rise below 1.5C,” the authors said. “As with present-day impacts of climate change, the impacts associated with crossing such thresholds in the future will impact poor and vulnerable communities first and worst.”

Another SLCP is methane, produced when vegetation rots and from animals, and in the form of natural gas from fossil fuel exploration. Methane is more than 20 times as powerful as carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, but few attempts are made to stop it reaching the atmosphere, even from easily containable sources such as sewage plants and intensive livestock farms, and from industrial sources such as fracking wells and oil and gas production.

Soot, or black carbon, is another byproduct of burning fossil fuels, and its effects can clearly be seen at the poles, particularly the Arctic. Brown, black and grey stains over the pristine wildernesses of Greenland, Siberia and Alaska come not from natural sources but from the fall of soot from the air, carried thousands of miles from fossil fuel burning. The stains contribute to warming, because the darkened snow absorbs more heat instead of reflecting it.

Soot from power station chimneys and vehicle tailpipes can be captured at source or reduced by switching to burning cleaner fuels. But getting rid of soot helps combat not just warming but also air pollution, as the particles are one of the leading causes of ill-health from environmental factors.

Cutting down on soot is not straightforward, however. The contribution of aerosols such as soot and other small particles to warming is complex: while soot on Earth blackens snow and other surfaces and increases warming, aerosols high in the atmosphere deflect some of the sun’s rays back into space. This dimming effect could have already saved the world from as much as 0.5C warming that might have been expected from the quantities of carbon now in the air, according to Johan Rockström, chief scientist at Conservation International.

Removing soot or stopping its release into the air might end up being of less use to the climate than stopping other SLCPs as a result, but it would save lives blighted by air pollution.

Zaelke said: “With the wolf of climate impacts at our door, time for our counter-offensive is short. The 30 years of success of the Montreal Protocol should inspire us to take still stronger actions, and to use additional tailor-made agreements to address specific business sector emissions, with the full engagement of industry.”

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