According to a United Nations report, global warming is perilously close to escalating out of control. In a major study released Monday, the United Nations’ climate panel warned that the globe is already on track to see more climatic disruptions in the next decades, if not centuries. Humans are “unambiguously” to blame, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) study. Some of the effects of rapid action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could be mitigated, but others are now irreversible.
The IPCC report, which is based on over 14,000 scientific studies, provides the most comprehensive and thorough picture yet of how climate change is affecting the natural world – and what may lie ahead.
The average global temperature is projected to reach or cross the 1.5-degree Celsius (2.7-degree Fahrenheit) warming barrier within 20 years unless quick, rapid, and large-scale action is made to cut emissions, according to the report. The pledges made thus far to reduce emissions are insufficient to begin reducing the number of greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) from the burning of fossil fuels.
Greta Thunberg, a Swedish campaigner, called on the public and the media to exert “huge” pressure on governments to act in an interview with Reuters. The United Nations will convene in three months. The COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, will attempt to wring significantly more ambitious climate action and funding from the world’s nations.
Important takeaways from the United Nations The report of the climate panel
HUMANS ARE TO BLAME
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) asserted that humans are to blame for climate change in the harshest language yet, with the first sentence of its report summary reading: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land.”
TEMPERATURES WILL KEEP RISING
Depending on how drastically the globe reduces emissions, the report depicts alternative futures.
Even the most drastic reductions, however, are unlikely to avoid global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Average temperatures could rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century if immediate significant emissions cuts are not made. The scientists also looked at less likely but still plausible scenarios, such as the loss of Arctic ice or forest dieback, and they couldn’t rule out major consequences from so-called tipping points.
THE WEATHER IS GETTING EXTREME
Weather extremes that were formerly rare or unexpected are becoming more prevalent, a trend that will continue even if global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Severe heat waves that used to come once every 50 years are now happening once every ten years. Tropical cyclones are becoming more powerful. In most land areas, the amount of rain or snowfall per year is increasing. Droughts are occurring 1.7 times more frequently. And fire seasons are lengthening and intensifying.
Scientists can now determine if climate change caused or worsened individual weather events thanks to technological advancements in the last decade.
ARCTIC SUMMERS COULD SOON BE FREE OF ICE
Under the IPCC’s most optimistic scenario, summertime sea ice atop the Arctic Ocean will vanish totally at least once by 2050. The region is the world’s fastest-warming, warming at least twice as quickly as the worldwide average.
While Arctic sea ice levels fluctuate throughout the year, they have been declining since the 1970s and are now at their lowest levels in a thousand years. This meeting sets off a feedback loop, with reflecting ice giving way to darker water, which absorbs solar energy and causes even more warmth.
SEAS WILL RISE
Sea levels will undoubtedly continue to rise for hundreds or thousands of years. Even if global warming were to be halted at 1.5 degrees Celsius, average sea levels would rise by 2 to 3 meters (6 to 10 feet), possibly more. As polar ice sheets melt and warm ocean water expands, sea level rise has accelerated. Since the 1960s, associated flooding in many coastal areas has roughly doubled, with once-in-a-century coastal surges expected to occur once a year by 2100.
RUNNING OUT OF TIME
Meeting the Paris Agreement’s aim of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will necessitate sticking to a “carbon budget,” a term that describes how much more carbon may be pumped into the atmosphere before the goal is likely to be missed.
Since the mid-1800s, 2.4 trillion tonnes of climate-warming CO2 have been emitted to the atmosphere, raising the average world temperature by 1.1 degrees Celsius. There are still 400 billion tonnes of carbon to be added until the carbon budget is depleted. Global emissions are currently just over 40 billion tonnes per year.
(News source: Reuters)