Climate Change

"Code red for humanity" as climate change happening faster than predicted: UN Report

The IPCC report approved by 195 nations shines a harsh spotlight on governments dithering in the face of mounting evidence that climate change is an existential crisis.
The IPCC report approved by 195 nations shines a harsh spotlight on governments dithering in the face of mounting evidence that climate change is an existential crisis. AMOS GUMULIRA AFP/File

According to the a report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, every region on Earth is affected by climate change and that some of the changes, such as rising sea levels, are irreversible.

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The report published this Monday has delivered stark warnings about how climate change is affecting the planet and comes eight years after the UN body published a full report on the same subject.

The report states that human influence is "unequivocally" to blame for global warming, and that some forms of climate disruption have now been "locked in" for centuries. 

It warns that unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach.

It adds that over the next 20 years, global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming.

This will directly lead to increased heat waves and shorter cold seasons.

If the 2°C limit is passed “heat extremes would more often reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health”, the report adds.

The report also lists the type of changes that can be expected, including more intense rainfall, more intense droughts, more frequent and severe coastal flooding in low-lying areas, the loss of seasonal snow cover, along with the melting of glaciers, ice sheets and loss of summer Arctic sea ice.

Urban areas will become hotter and coastal cities will be prone to flooding due to heavy precipitation events and sea level rise.

The report however mentions that climate change could be limited with strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO²) and other greenhouse gases.

It states that while benefits for air quality would come quickly, it could take between 20 to 30 years to see global temperatures stabilise.

'A code red for humanity'

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres termed the report a 'code red' for humanity. "The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable. This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet," he remarked. 

France's Environment Minister Barbara Pompili has said the report shows that the world has just a decade to move away from fossil fuels, or face dire consequences. 

"The challenge is immense because it involves emerging within a decade from a civilisation that has been based on fossil fuels for several centuries," she added.

Meanwhile British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the next decade was going to be pivotal to securing the future of our planet.

"We know what must be done to limit global warming – consign coal to history and shift to clean energy sources, protect nature and provide climate finance for countries on the frontline." 

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry said that the impacts of the climate crisis "will only continue to intensify unless we choose another course for ourselves and generations to come." 

(with AFP)

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