A major UN scientific report stated that human activity is causing climate change in unprecedented ways.
This landmark study warns about increasing extreme heat waves, droughts, and flooding. A key temperature limit was also broken within a little over a decade.
According to the UN chief, the report is a
“Code red for Humanity”
Scientists say that a disaster can be avoided if the world reacts quickly.
It is possible to stabilize rising temperatures by making drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, said that scientists’ findings were supported by his statement:
“If we join forces now, then we can prevent climate catastrophe.”
Today’s report demonstrates that there is no time to delay nor make excuses. I trust government leaders and all other stakeholders to make COP26 a success.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has provided a sober assessment of the future of the planet. This group of scientists is endorsed by governments around the globe.
Their report is the first comprehensive review of climate science since 2013. The release of the report comes just three months prior to COP26, a major climate summit in Glasgow.
The IPCC document states, “it is unambiguous that human influence has warmed both the atmosphere and the oceans” in confident tones.
Prof. Ed Hawkins (University of Reading, UK) is one of the report’s authors. He says that scientists are unable to be more clear on this point.
“It’s a statement of facts; we can not be more certain; it’s unambiguous and indisputable humans are warming the earth.”
Petteri Taalas (Secretary-General of World Meteorological Organization) stated: “One could use sports terms to say that the atmosphere has been subjected to doping, which would mean we have started observing extremes more frequently than before.”
According to the authors, the global surface temperatures have increased faster than any other 50-year period in the past 2,000 years.
This warning “is already affecting many weather extremes in every part of the world.”
It doesn’t matter if it’s heatwaves such as those experienced recently in Greece and western North America or floods such as those in Germany, China, and Germany, “their attribution of human influence has increased” over the past decade.
Key points from the IPCC Report
The global surface temperature was 1.09C warmer in the decade 2011-2020 than it was between 1850-1900.
These five years were the hottest since 1850.
Recent sea-level rise rates have nearly tripled in comparison to 1901-1971
Global glacier retreat is due to human influence (90%)
It is “virtually certain that” hot extremes such as heatwaves have become more frequent since the 1950s. While cold events have become rarer and less severe, it is “virtually certain.”
This report also reveals that global warming has caused irreversible changes in many of our planet support systems over timescales of millennia to centuries.
Oceans will continue to heat up and become more acidic. For decades or even centuries, mountain and polar glaciers may continue to melt.
Prof Hawkins stated that
“The consequences will continue to get worse from every bit of warming.”
“And there is no way to reverse many of these consequences.”
Scientists have calculated a range of possible levels of emission for sea-level rise.
A rise of approximately 2m by the close of this century is not to be ruled out, nor can a 5m increase by 2150.
Even though they are unlikely, such outcomes would be devastating for millions of more people living in flood-prone areas by 2100.
The report focuses on the expected temperature rise and its implications for human safety.
Nearly every country on Earth signed up for the Paris climate agreement goals in 2015.
This pact is designed to keep global temperature rises below 2C by the end of this century and to continue efforts to keep them under 1.5C.
According to the new report, both emissions scenarios are being considered by scientists. However, unless drastic carbon reductions take place, these targets could be broken.
According to the authors, 1.5C will be attained by 2040 under all scenarios. This will occur even sooner if emissions aren’t reduced in the coming years.
This was the prediction of IPCC’s, which was confirmed by a new study in 2018.
We will reach one-and-a-half degrees in individual years much sooner. Professor Malte Meinshausen from the University of Melbourne, Australia, said that we already reached it during the El Nino of 2016.
“The middle of 2034 is the best estimate in the new report, but there is a lot of uncertainty, and it can range from now to never.”