We are losing the chance to secure a livable future for everyone on Earth.
Thousands of climate scientists have contributed to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for over six years, culminating in last Monday’s report.
According to the report’s authors, “the window of opportunity to ensure a sustainable future for all is rapidly closing.”
Hope For All
According to the report, technology exists to adapt to climate change and reduce harmful emissions, providing a clear path to a more sustainable world and a stable climate.
As IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee said, ensuring climate action is effective and equitable will not only reduce losses and damages for the environment and people, but it will also provide a wider range of benefits. According to the report, we can still secure a sustainable future for all if we act now.
A key goal of the Paris climate agreement – to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius – may also be unattainable.
Climate change will have catastrophic consequences if more than 190 countries do not aim for that mark – equivalent to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit of warming – by the year 2050. Eight years later, scientists say nations’ commitments still leave a “substantial” gap and global warming is “likely” going to exceed 1.5 degrees.
It contains no new findings but instead presents an overview of recent climate science, tallied global warming’s impacts, and serves as a guide for policymakers as societies adapt and transform. Over 93 scientists worldwide contributed to the IPCC’s summary report.
Transformation Must Come Now
By 2030, greenhouse gas emissions would need to be cut nearly in half to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to the report. As a result of human-caused climate change, the planet has already warmed approximately 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels.
The IPCC report is an urgent call for global action, said Manish Bapna, president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
We’re hurtling down the road to ruin, and we’ve run out of time to change course. This is the stone-cold truth laid out by the world’s top scientists, Bapna said in an interview with Storyline World.
As scientists and government officials sought agreement on the report’s findings over the weekend, climate justice concerns and culpability for the crisis were in the spotlight.
The state media reported that government representatives delayed the approval of the report on Sunday because rich and developing countries disagreed over targets for reducing global emissions and providing financial aid to nations most vulnerable to climate change.
During the United Nations climate summit, COP27, held last year in Egypt, countries agreed to establish a compensation fund. However, they had yet to define which countries qualify as “vulnerable.”
These debates, along with the IPCC’s road map, are sure to be hot-button issues at the COP28 meeting later this year. In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, leaders will meet for high-level climate talks from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12. The summit will include the first “global stocktake” in order to assess how countries are doing toward reducing emissions and meeting the Paris Agreement’s goals.
Founded in the late 1980s, the IPCC is made up of thousands of scientists from 195 nations who examine the most recent published and peer-reviewed research on global warming and compile the findings into a report.
The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, or AR6, contains four installations, and the U.N. group performs a full assessment cycle every six to seven years.
The IPCC’s first report detailed that some changes to the climate are already occurring, such as warming oceans and rising sea levels, and will be irreversible for centuries to millennia.
The second paper stated that climate change has caused irreversible shifts and will continue to pose threats to human welfare, including heat waves, changes in food availability, and the spread of infectious diseases.
In the third report, scientists offered solutions, including switching to renewable energy and ceasing to build new fossil fuel infrastructure.