Leonardo DiCaprio brings climate change to Oscar stage with appeal for urgent action

The study calls for further cuts in emissions and starting from now.

Climate change made it to the Oscar dais at a crucial time when studies are showing that more and more needs to be done to avoid the dangerous impacts of climate change. A recent one from University of Exeter has further cut down the permissible cumulative emissions for the planet to stay within the two degree threshold for temperature rise.

It estimates that the figures required to stay within the limit is in the lower range of what IPCC suggests in its 590 to 1620 billion tonnes range, and should be applied for emissions from 2015 onwards. The IPCC's budget numbers were from 2011 and since then the world has been emitting about 40 bn tonnes per year.

It allows between 15 to 30 years of emissions at the current rate.

The study did not quite make it to the news headlines, but Leonardo DiCaprio did what more than that when he termed climate change as the most urgent threat facing our species. The actor made a fervent appeal to the audience at the 88th Academy Awards to work "collectively and stop procrastinating".

Decrying "the politics of greed" the star who won the Oscars after two decades of acting, called on people to support leaders "who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations" but for the underprivileged and indigenous people whose voices "have been drowned by the politics of greed."

The research, published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change says that the global annual carbon budget should be limited to 590-1240 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from 2015 onwards.

Estimates for permissible emissions have varied widely and the present research identifies the various scenarios and methods as the cause for the differences.

"We now better understand what the carbon budget is for keeping global warming below 2 degrees. This carbon budget is very important to know because it defines how much carbon dioxide we are allowed to release into the atmosphere, ever. We have now figured out that this budget is at the low end of what studies indicated before, and if we don't start reducing our emissions soon, we will blow it in a few decades," said the paper's lead author Joeri Rogelj, of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

As Caprio puts it, "If you do not believe in climate change, you do not believe in modern science or empirical truths."

The Paris climate agreement in December 2015 saw 195 nations agree on a legally binding pact to take action to limit temperature rise well below the 2 deg level. However, the pact will come into force only in 2020. The year 2015 was also the hottest year on record as confirmed by Nasa, the UK Met office and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).