Wildfire burned trees in Mugla, Marmaris district on August 28, 2021 as the European Union sent aid to Turkey and volunteers joined firefighters to fight violent fires that left eight people dead for a week.
YASIN AKGUL | AFP | Getty Images
The world’s leading climate scientists issued their strongest warning to date of the worsening climate emergency on Monday and forecast that climate change will increase in all regions in the coming decades.
A eagerly awaited report by the UN climate committee warns that limiting global warming to almost 1.5 degrees Celsius or even 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels will be “unattainable” without reducing greenhouse gas emissions immediately, quickly and on a large scale become.
The 1.5 degrees Celsius mark is a decisive global goal, because what are known as tipping points are also more likely. Tipping points refer to an irreversible change in the climate system that includes further global warming.
With global warming of 2 degrees Celsius, heat extremes would often reach critical tolerance levels for agriculture and health, the report said.
The latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which were approved by 195 member states on Friday, deal with the physical-scientific basis of climate change and outline how humans are changing the planet. It is the first of four reports published as part of the IPCC’s current evaluation cycle, with the next reports expected to be published next year.
The first part of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, while relatively brief, offers leaders a gold standard summary of modern climate science ahead of the UN climate talks, known as COP26, in early November.
“Today’s report by IPCC Working Group 1 is a Code Red for humanity,” said UN Secretary General António Guterres.
“The alarm bells are deafening and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are suffocating our planet and putting billions of people in imminent danger.”
What does the report say?
Climate scientists warned that they are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and throughout the climate system.
The report shows that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities have been responsible for about 1.1 degrees Celsius of warming since 1850-1900, and notes that global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius on average over the next 20 years will.
The UN climate panel says “strong and sustainable” reductions in carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change. Benefits like improved air quality would come quickly, while it could take 20 to 30 years for global temperatures to stabilize, she adds.
The IPCC report makes it clear that it’s not just about temperature. Climate change brings about different changes in different regions – and all of them will increase with further global warming.
These changes include more intense rainfall and associated floods, more intense droughts in many regions, and a sustained rise in sea levels in coastal areas over the course of the 21st century.
A couple ride a pedal boat while smoke from nearby forest fires hangs over the city of Yakutsk, Sakha Republic, Siberia on July 27, 2021.
DIMITAR DILKOFF | AFP | Getty Images
It follows a series of overwhelming extreme weather events around the world. For example, in recent weeks floods have wreaked havoc in Europe, China and India, clouds of toxic smoke have blanketed Siberia and forest fires have spiraled out of control in the US, Canada, Greece and Turkey.
Political decision-makers are under immense pressure to keep the promises made under the Paris Agreement in the run-up to COP26. Yet while world leaders publicly acknowledge the need to transition to a low-carbon society, the world’s fossil fuel dependence is expected to get worse.
The IPCC’s fifth assessment report, published in 2014, made the most important scientific contribution to the Paris Agreement.
Almost 200 countries ratified the Paris Climate Agreement at COP21 in 2015 and agreed to limit the rise in temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level and to make efforts to limit the rise in temperature to 1.5 ° C.
It remains a major focus ahead of COP26, although some climate scientists now believe that achieving that latter goal is already “practically impossible”.
The IPCC previously recognized that the necessary transition from fossil fuels will be a huge undertaking that will require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented change” in all areas of society.
It underscored the point that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius “could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and just society”, with clear benefits for both humans and natural ecosystems.
However, a UN analysis published last year found that the commitments made by countries around the world to curb greenhouse gas emissions were “very far” from the deep-seated measures needed to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change.
What is the IPCC?
The IPCC is a UN body with 195 member states that evaluates science in relation to the climate crisis.
It was founded in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization to regularly inform world leaders about the extent of the climate catastrophe, its effects and risks, and to propose strategies for adaptation and containment.
It consists of three working groups. The first, Working Group I, deals with the physical and scientific principles of climate change. This group presented its contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC on Monday.
Working group II deals with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, and working group III evaluates mitigating climate change. A separate task force evaluates methods for measuring greenhouse gas emissions and emissions.
Thousands of climate scientists volunteer to keep up with the latest climate research to contribute to the work of the IPCC. The reports are drawn up and checked in several stages and are of fundamental importance for the international climate negotiations.
The reports of Working Groups II and III should be completed in February and March 2022, respectively. A final synthesis report will also be published next year.