The latest landmark scientific report on climate change has concluded that some catastrophic changes are already set in motion, but sustained cuts in carbon emissions will limit the worst effects.
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that many of the changes currently being observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years.
It is now “unequivocal” that human influence is driving the warming of the atmosphere, oceans and land, causing extreme events such as heatwaves, flooding, droughts and tropical cyclones.
Scientists are confident that global temperatures will now continue to rise until at least the mid-century and some of the changes already set in motion, such as sea level rise, will be irreversible.
Responding to the findings following a longer filmed statement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Today’s report makes for sobering reading, and it is clear that the next decade is 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.”
Risk assessment tool
Commenting on what the findings means for businesses, Emma Cox, global sustainability and climate change leader at PwC, said: “The report provides the most detailed analysis of where and how your operations, supply chains and markets are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Climate science should remain the hard basis for all decision-making and target setting.”
For the first time, the IPCC has produced a regional assessment of projected climate impacts to inform risk assessment, adaptation and other decision-making. The data can be explored online through a new Interactive Atlas.
The IPCC report comes ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, where nations will come together to agree stronger commitments and attempt to put the planet back on track to achieve the goals they agreed in the historic Paris Agreement in 2015.
“Coming less than three months before COP26, this report is a huge wake-up call to all governments showing that as things stand, they are not on track to keep climate change within manageable bounds,” explained Richard Black, senior associate at the Energy and Climate Change Intelligence Unit (ECIU), which publishes a Net Zero Tracker of national commitments.
"COP26 presents a clear opportunity to implement credible policies in areas that will cut emissions quickly including ending coal use, restoring forests and cracking down on methane leaks – all of which also present economic opportunities.”
Speaking to BBC Newsnight, COP26 president Alok Sharma said: “The door is still somewhat ajar in terms of tackling climate change and avoiding its worst effects, but unless we get this right now, that door will close shut. What we need to do is ensure that all countries come forward with ambitious plans to cut their emissions so that we can deliver on what was agreed in Paris."
Posted under General Interest and Climate Change and What it Means to You on 26 August 2021