The document was released the same day as the Paris Climate Change Agreement, a pact signed by the 193 UN member states to lower global emissions, comes into effect. It also reported that regardless of what action is taken, a "new normal" for average global temperatures is already firmly in place.
Explaining this concept, Dr. Sophie Lewis from the Australian National University’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, said, "Based on a specific starting point, we determined a new normal occurred when at least half of the years following a record year were cooler and half warmer. Only then can a new normal state be declared."
Lewis added, "If we continue with business-as-usual emissions, extreme seasons will inevitably become the norm within decades and Australia will be the canary in the coal mine that will experience this change first."
The paper, titled, "Defining a new normal for extremes in a warming world," notes that, "At the regional level, a new normal can be delayed through aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reductions."
On Thursday UN Environment head Erik Solheim released a statement warning, "If we don’t start taking additional action now, beginning with the upcoming climate meeting in Marrakech, we will grieve over the avoidable human tragedy. The growing numbers of climate refugees hit by hunger, poverty, illness and conflict will be a constant reminder of our failure to deliver. The science shows that we need to move much faster."
Later this month the 12-day COP22 conference on climate change will take place in Marrakech, Morocco, in which carbon emissions will also be discussed.