UNITED NSATIONS-“Urgent” actions are needed to counter human-caused climate change, according to a new report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
“Without urgent, effective, and equitable mitigation and adaptation actions, climate change increasingly threatens ecosystems, biodiversity, and the livelihoods, health and well-being of current and future generations,” said the report, released Monday in Interlaken, Switzerland.
Reports by the IPCC are considered the planet’s most authoritative assessments of the state of global warming, its consequences and the measures being taken to tackle it.
“Humanity is on thin ice – and that ice is melting fast,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. “Our world needs climate action on all fronts – everything, everywhere, all at once.” At the same time, the report said there were many feasible and effective options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change, and they were available now.
“Mainstreaming effective and equitable climate action will not only reduce losses and damages for nature and people, it will also provide wider benefits,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee. “This Synthesis Report underscores the urgency of taking more ambitious action and shows that, if we act now, we can still secure a liveable sustainable future for all.” Temperatures have already risen to 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a consequence of more than a century of burning fossil fuels, as well as unequal and unsustainable energy and land use. This has resulted in more frequent and intense extreme weather events that have caused increasingly dangerous impacts on nature and people in every region of the world.
Climate-driven food and water insecurity is expected to grow with increased warming: when the risks combine with other adverse events, such as pandemics or conflicts, they become even more difficult to manage. If temperatures are to be kept to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, deep, rapid, and sustained greenhouse gas emissions reductions will be needed in all sectors this decade, the reports states. Emissions need to go down now, and be cut by almost half by 2030, if this goal has any chance of being achieved. The solution proposed by the IPCC is “climate resilient development,” which involves integrating measures to adapt to climate change with actions to reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in ways that provide wider benefits.