The title of this article by The Guardian by Jonathan Watts Global the "environment editor",

We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN

Who made this warning, and where is it? I don't see it mentioned anywhere in The Guardian.

  • 2
    I can't wait , we are having another record breaking cold spell ( Nov. 13/14. 2018). East TX Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 21:54
  • 4
    @blacksmith37: That's a thing many people don't understand about what "global warming" actually means. It doesn't mean that we get a bit warmer weather. Hey, a bit more warmth in the summer and a bit less cold in the winter, that's comfortable, isn't it? No. It means that weather systems get an immense boost in energy. This means more intense draughts, more intense heat spells... but also more violent storms, torrential rains, or record breaking cold spells as well. Weather getting more extreme is the thing, not weather getting warmer by two degrees across the board.
    – DevSolar
    Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 10:05
  • 1
    Didn't Al Gore say the same thing 12 years ago?
    – user36356
    Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 17:19
  • 2
    @blacksmith37 - Record breaking? Not quite. The low for Lubbock TX was 21° F on Nov 13, seven degrees above the record low. And even if it was record breaking, that would not falsify climate change. Climate change does not mean that every single place on the Earth is warmer than that place was a year ago. Climate change is about changes in climate (weather averaged over decades), and about changes averaged over the world. This argument of "but its cold here" comes up every winter, and to be blunt, it's rather ignorant. Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 21:02
  • 2
    That's beyond ignorance, @blacksmith37. The world as a whole is warmer than it was forty years ago. That's a fact. Even the denier community has come to grips with that fact. Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 1:53

1 Answer 1


From the Guardian article you linked to:

The authors of the landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on Monday say urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to reach the target, which they say is affordable and feasible although it lies at the most ambitious end of the Paris agreement pledge to keep temperatures between 1.5C and 2C.

The press release for the report from the IPCC states:

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require "rapid and far-reaching" transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching 'net zero' around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

As it is 2018 we have 12 years until 2030 to hit the 45% decrease from 2010 levels of carbon dioxide.

The full report entitled Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty can be found here.

Edited to address some comments: The Guardian article headline says "Climate Change Catastrophe." The only mention of catastrophic climate change is found on page 243 of the draft report. Under the heading of Scenario 3: One possible storyline among worst-case scenarios

Radiative forcing increases and, due to chance, the most extreme events tend to happen in less populated regions thus not increasing global concerns. Nonetheless, there are more frequent heatwaves in several cities and less snow in mountain resorts in the Alps, Rockies, and Andes (Chapter 3, Section 3.3). 1.5°C warming is reached by 2030, but no major changes in policies occur. Starting with an intense El Niño-La Niña phase in the 2030s, several catastrophic years occur while global temperature warming starts to approach 2°C. There are major heatwaves on all continents, with deadly consequences in tropical regions and Asian megacities, especially for those ill-equipped for protecting themselves and their communities from the effects of extreme temperatures

  • 1
    This answer addresses the two primary aspects of the claim, who made the warning, and where. The headline contains more, though: it speaks of limiting a catastrophic event. This is of course a wording the IPCC would not readily use in official publications (whatever detractors who accuse the IPCC of fearmongering might believe). Is it therefore really valid to say that it is the IPCC who states that reducing global warming to 1.5°C within the next 12 years would "limit [a] climate change catastrophe"?
    – Schmuddi
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 11:26
  • As IPCC does not talk about "climate change catastrophe" but only specific targets, it looks like we have a mix of a valid claim (UN claims specific changes are needed by 2030 if we are to limit warming to a specific level) and editorializing (claim that failing to reach that target is a "catastrophe").
    – StasM
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 19:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .