Code red for humanity' . . .
The most recent report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released on Monday, paints a stark portrait of the current state of the global climate and humanity’s “unequivocal” contributions to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions. It found “a near-linear relationship between cumulative [human generated] CO2 emissions and the global warming they cause.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres described the report’s findings as “a code red for humanity.” The IPCC is a body of the United Nations first convened in 1988 to provide objective scientific information on climate change and its impacts, risks, and options for response.
Worsening extreme weather events in Asia . . .
The IPCC report says we should expect more extreme weather events due to climate change, although the effects will not be felt uniformly around the globe. Parts of the Asia Pacific will be affected particularly severely and may be poorly equipped to respond effectively. Experts warn that India and South Asia, for example, will suffer more intense heat waves, erratic monsoons and other extreme rains, as well as cyclones of increased frequency and intensity. Parts of Australia are expected to become hotter and wetter, while other parts of the continent continue a drying trend, putting pressure on agriculture and increasing the likelihood of destructive bushfires.
Much to discuss at COP26 climate meeting . . .
The report finds that human activities have caused global temperatures to rise by 1.1 degrees since 1850. The Paris Agreement, an international climate accord negotiated in 2015 at a major UN climate conference, calls for countries to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 to 2 degrees by 2100. The IPCC finds that such an eventuality would require reducing CO2 emissions to at least net zero levels, the sooner the better. And even if humanity were able to make such cuts and limit global temperature rise, associated effects of climate change, such as sea-level rise, could continue for “decades to millennia.” This all makes the task of government leaders yet more urgent as they prepare for the COP26 climate meetings in Scotland in November.
- BBC: Climate change: Five things we have learned from the IPCC report
- The Straits Times: Singapore developing climate model to localize findings of IPCC report
- The Sydney Morning Herald: Seven top takeaways from the IPCC’s latest climate science assessment