UN report issues “code red” on climate change
The much-publicized goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels will be beyond reach unless the world makes immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions says a new landmark climate report from a UN panel.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change, published on Monday its Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis report, which came as the starkest warning to humanity about the closing window of opportunity to limit global warming.
The authors of the report say with high confidence that “fossil fuel combustion for energy, industry and land transportation are the largest contributing sectors on a 100-year time scale.”
According to the report, greenhouse gas emissions from human activities have been responsible for approximately 1.1 degrees Celsius of warming since 1850-1900. Averaged over the next 20 years, the global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming, the panel said.
“This report is a reality check,” IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte said.
Every region faces increasing changes as climate change is intensifying rapidly, the report said.
The report is “a code red for humanity,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said.
“The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk,” Guterres added.
“The new IPCC report contains no real surprises. It confirms what we already know from thousands previous studies and reports – that we are in an emergency. It’s a solid (but cautious) summary of the current best available science,” said Greta Thunberg.
“It doesn’t tell us what to do. It is up to us to be brave and take decisions based on the scientific evidence provided in these reports. We can still avoid the worst consequences, but not if we continue like today, and not without treating the crisis like a crisis.”
Mark Campanale, founder and executive chair at Carbon Tracker said:
“The bedrock of our understanding, the science, couldn’t be more stark: We have little over eight years to act; the carbon budget, the room for global emissions we have left, is perilously depleted. The world must urgently wind down fossil fuel supply in an orderly and transparent way and halt high-risk high-cost oil and gas exploration today.”