The climate “red flag” : new UN report exposes harsh reality of the climate crisis.
Governments are facing increasing pressure to quickly step up action to tackle global warming. The UN report released last Monday warns that humans have an "unequivocal" impact on the climate. The latest global review by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the world will reach or exceed temperature rises of 1.5 ° C - seen as a threshold beyond which the world's worst impacts global warming will be felt - over the next two decades. Adding that without rapid and deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, temperature increases in the 21st century will exceed both 1.5 ° C and the much riskier 2 ° C warming limit as mentioned by country in the international treaty of Paris on the climate.
In response to the report, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it was a “code red for humanity” . He warned: “The alarm bells are deaf and the evidence is compelling: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people in immediate danger. “Global warming affects all regions of the Earth, and many of the changes are becoming irreversible. “The internationally agreed 1.5 ° C threshold is dangerously close. "He urged countries to intensify their efforts to define emergency and national plans to reduce emissions this decade before a crucial UN summit on climate change to be held in Glasgow in November.
He called for an end to coal-fired power plants and fossil fuel exploration, the transition to renewables and funding to protect vulnerable communities, and said Covid-19 stimulus spending should comply with climate objectives. When releasing the report, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there is no doubt that the next decade will be crucial in securing the future of the planet. “We know what needs to be done to limit global warming - to relegate coal to history and switch to clean energy sources, protect nature and provide climate finance to countries on the front lines.” Mr Johnson, whose government is due to release its strategy to cut UK emissions to zero by mid-century this fall, but who faces concerns about how to fairly pay for the move, added : “The UK is leading the way, decarbonizing our economy faster than any G20 country over the past two decades. I hope today's IPCC report will be a wake-up call for the world to act now, before we meet in Glasgow in November for the crucial COP 26 summit. ”
Alok Sharma, President of Cop 26, said: " The science is clear, the impacts of the climate crisis can be seen around the world and if we don't act now we will continue to see the worst effects, to have impact on lives, livelihoods and natural habitats. " Our message to all countries, governments, businesses and parts of society is simple. The next decade is decisive, follow the science and take responsibility for maintaining the 1.5C target at all costs. I don't think it's too late, but I think we're getting dangerously close to when we might reach the point of no return. He called on countries to come up with ambitious targets for emissions reductions going forward and long-term strategies on the road to the goal of net zero emissions by mid-century. Governments must take immediate action to end coal-fired power, accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles, tackle deforestation and reduce methane emissions, he urged. But the UK government itself is facing calls for more action. Shadow Cabinet Secretary of State Ed Miliband warned the report highlighted what recent flooding, heatwaves and wildfires also showed; that “the degradation of the climate has already started, that it is accelerating across the world” . He said the case for transformative action to cut emissions was not only the overwhelming moral choice, but also the only reasonable and prudent economic path - and that Labor was committed to making most of the reductions needed over the next decade. “ The biggest threat we face today is not climate denial, but climate delay, including from the UK government.” The stage is now set for Cop 26.
Our latest and greatest hope for a global breakthrough to limit temperature rises to 1.5 degrees. "The message to government here and to those around the world is rhetorical enough, late enough - the age of action is now." Campaigners also took to the report to urge the UK government to do more to cut emissions.
Jake Woodier, of The Climate Coalition, which includes groups ranging from the National Trust and the Women's Institute to WWF, Oxfam and the RSPB, said: " Climate change is already here, and after a chaotic and destructive summer of weather, the public wants Boris Johnson's government to act decisively. " We already know what is needed to ensure a more secure future: from saying no to polluting fossil fuels like the Cambo oil field, to restoring the world nature, forest protection and honoring financial promises to support those on the front lines of the climate crisis. “Now, it's high time to get started and do it for good,” he urged.
Professor Joanna Haigh, Imperial College London, said: “The window is still open for governments to avoid the worst impacts and risks and to achieve a solid result at Cop 26 in just three months - but that will depend nations that will come forward before the summit to put in place robust and ambitious emission reduction plans for the next decade . "
But "this window will not stay open much longer ," she warned.
The new UN report exposes the impact of human activity on the climate - and the possible futures of the planet.
Here are some of its main findings. - It is "unequivocal" that human activity has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land - with widespread and rapid changes across the world. - Many of the changes are unprecedented for many centuries, thousands of years, with global warming occurring at an unprecedented rate for at least 2,000 years. - Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are higher than they have been for three million years and methane concentrations are higher than they have been for 800,000 years, with increases in both greenhouse gases far greater than the natural changes observed for hundreds of thousands of years. -
Global average temperatures were nearly 1.1 ° C warmer in the last decade than in pre-industrial times, or in the period 1850-1900, due to emissions caused by human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.
Man-made climate change is already affecting many extreme weather and climate events in all regions of the world, with stronger evidence of more frequent or intense heat waves, heavy rains, droughts and tropical cyclones and the role humans play in driving change. - Humans are most likely the main cause of the global retreat of glaciers, the decline of sea ice, warming oceans and sea level rise. The rate of sea level rise is increasing. accelerated. - Global surface temperatures will continue to rise at least until mid-century, and the world will reach or exceed 1.5 ° C warming over the next 20 years. - Global warming of 1.5 ° C and 2 ° C - limits that countries have pledged to respect in order to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change - will be exceeded in the 21st century unless deep reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will only occur in the decades to come. - Continued warming will lead to an increase in the frequency and intensity of hot extremes, marine heat waves, heavy rains, droughts in some areas, the proportion of intense tropical cyclones and the reduction of ice from arctic sea, snow cover and permafrost.
Each further increase in warming causes greater changes in extremes, A temperature rise of 0.5 ° C leading to a marked increase in the intensity of heat waves, heavy rains can cause floods and droughts. - In future scenarios with increasing carbon dioxide emissions, oceanic and terrestrial carbon sinks such as forests are expected to be less effective in slowing the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. - Changes in oceans, sea levels and melting permafrost and glaciers are irreversible for decades, centuries, even millennia due to past and future warming. - Strong, rapid and sustained reductions in methane emissions would help curb global warming and would also improve air quality.