U.N. report calls for Canada to cut emissions in half to meet stiffer climate change targets

A UN report has a tall order for Canada, cut its emissions almost in half over the next 12 years to meet the stiffer targets dozens of international climate change experts say is required to prevent catastrophic global warming.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there will be irreversible changes and the entire loss of some ecosystems if the world doesn't take immediate and intensive action to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

That means trying to limit the increase in the average global ground temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius, rather than 2 degrees as specified in the Paris climate change accord.

At 2 degrees Celsius, everything from melting sea ice to droughts, famines and floods will be significantly worse than at 1.5 degrees.

If people don't act now, the report says, we will hit 1.5 degrees somewhere between 2030 and 2052.

To prevent that, the world has to cut the amount of emissions released each year by 2030 so that they are no more than 55 per cent of what they were in 2010.

For Canada, that means emissions would need to fall to a maximum of 385 million tonnes a year.

The report comes as Canada is embroiled in a new round of political arguments about the best way to proceed, with the federal Liberals' planned national price on carbon being challenged by a growing number of provincial governments.