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IPCC report sees a bleak future of extreme weather

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued a warning about worrying patterns days after scientists flagged concern about the climate reaching a tipping point — a 1.5 degree Celsius warming threshold in the next two decades. 

According to the report — The Sixth Assessment Report Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis’ stated that “every region in the world is witnessing irreversible changes in climate and human actions are an unmistakable driver of climate change.”

The report, which was approved by all the 195 member governments of the IPCC, projected that climate change would increase in all regions in the coming decades. 

According to the analysis, human-caused greenhouse gas emissions resulted in a 1.1°C increase in global temperatures between 1850 and 1900, with global temperatures likely approaching or exceeding 1.5°C in the next 20 years. 

In addition, it claims that future emissions will decide the rate of future temperature rise, the severity of future climate change, and the consequences and hazards that come with it. CO2 levels in the atmosphere have increased, and the rate of increase has accelerated. 

The report was dubbed “Code Red for Humanity ”’ by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who emphasised the irrefutable proof of human impact behind the catastrophe.  

“Today’s IPCC Working Group 1 Report is a code red for humanity,” he said.

Key highlights:

  • Between 2011 and 2020, the global surface temperature rose by 1.09 degrees Celsius versus between 1850 and 1900. 
  •  Earth will cross the vital 1.5 degree Celsius warming threshold in two decades. 
  • It is likely that heat waves will become more frequent and intense.

Entering the Red Zone 

The report says that 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming will increase heat waves, longer warm seasons, and shorter cold seasons. 

According to the analysis, once-in-a-decade heavy rain events are now 1.3 times more common and 6.7 per cent wetter than they were 50 years ago when human-caused severe warming began. Droughts that occurred once in a decade could now occur every five to six years.

Furthermore, the analysis revealed that greenhouse gas emissions must be cut in half to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – a target that was only included in the Paris Agreement after persistent lobbying by Pacific island leaders.

“Unless there are rapid, sustained, and large-scale reductions of climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2, methane, and others, the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industry levels will be beyond reach,” Mr. António Guterres said in a statement.

“This assessment of the latest science is a severe warning regarding the well-being of human society and all life on Earth. 

“It is testimony to the fact that efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the past decades have been wholly insufficient.

“With respect to the intergovernmental negotiations on climate change, 2021 marks a crucial year as nations submit their new or updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

“Sound policy and action are based on sound science. As the IPCC’s Summary for Policy Makers underscores, limiting warming to 1.5C can only be achieved through immediate and significantly scaled-up reductions. 

“The only way to reach this goal is through the rapid implementation of more ambitious NDCs,” Guterres’ said. 

What is NDC?

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) represent each country’s efforts to cut national emissions and adapt to climate change impacts. 

Each party is required by the Paris Agreement to prepare, communicate, and maintain a series of NDCs that it intends to achieve.

“Given the latest assessment of the physical science basis of climate change, accepting and rising to the challenge of increasing ambition needs to be the way forward,” Mr. António Guterres said.

“Pursuing efforts towards 1.5 degrees C through the implementation of ambitious NDCs is essential for our future and future generations’ well-being.”

Meanwhile, while Australia has yet to “fully” commit to a net-zero target by 2050, Scott Morrison recently stated that “on the road to net-zero emissions,” Australia’s energy mix will need to alter over the next 30 years.

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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