PARIS - The United Nations was poised to release a capstone report Monday distilling nearly a decade of published science on the impacts and trajectory of global warming, and the tools available to prevent climate catastrophe.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 30-odd page “summary for policymakers” -- compressing 10,500 pages authored by more than 1,000 scientists -- is as dense as a black hole and will deliver a stark warning. “We are nearing a point of no return,” UN chief Antonio Guterres said last week as diplomats from 195 nations gathered in Interlaken, Switzerland, to hammer out the final wording, finalised on Sunday night by exhausted and sleep-deprived delegates two days behind schedule.
“For decades, the IPCC has put forward evidence on how people and planet are being rocked by climate destruction.” Since the last IPCC synthesis report in 2014, science has determined that devastating impacts are happening more quickly and at lower levels of warming than previously understood. With Earth’s average surface temperature 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels so far.