“The report underscores the overwhelming urgency of this moment” – IPCC document blew politician’s minds

    17 Aug 2021

    It is possible to fight global warming if you make an active effort now! These are the findings of more than 200 scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in the report “Climate Change 2021: A Physical Science Framework”.

    IPCC scientists analyzed more than 14,000 current scientific papers and collected their conclusions in the report. 

    Human activity causes extreme weather events, and its impact on the climate is a fait accompli.

    If nothing changes, the rise in global average temperature will reach a critical level of 1.5 ° C by 2040.

    Warming for every fraction of a degree will lead to more significant and more expensive consequences. Irreversible changes are imminent.

    Scientists have also been able to analyze in more detail the effects of climate change on different regions and even created an Atlas of the impacts of climate change, it shows.

    UAE Press: Nations should heed UN’s dire climate forecast

    “For years, scientists have been warning about the impact of global warming. They have cited the threat from very hot weather, drought, floods, torrential rain, earthquakes, and rising seas by way of examples,” commented a local English daily, WAM reports.

    “They have again sounded the warning drumbeat: a UN science report on Monday showed everyone is going to get hit by the speeding effects of climate change. So people should be protected – and right away,” Gulf Today said in its editorial on August 11.

    More than 200 scientists have contributed to the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It points out that global warming of about 1.1 degrees Celsius has brought many changes in different regions – from more severe droughts and storms to rising seas.

    The daily said that the planet will become so hot that temperatures in about ten years will cross the international level of warming that world leaders have been trying to prevent.

    They have called this a ‘code red’ for humans across the globe. The report squarely pins the blame on human beings for causing this climate crisis. It also makes more precise and warmer forecasts for the 21st century than it did last time it was issued in 2013.

    It said the world will cross the 1.5-degree-Celsius warming mark in the 2030s, earlier than some past predictions. Warming has ramped up in recent years, data shows.

    It noted, “The IPCC had increasingly issued a shot across the bows in its regular reports over the past four decades, but that had not led to adequate policy responses.”

    “The world listened but didn’t hear; the world listened but it didn’t act strongly enough – and as a result, climate change is a problem that is here now,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Program.

    “Nobody is safe and it’s getting worse faster,” she told journalists at the online report launch.

    The paper then quoted Petteri Taalas, the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), which hosts the IPCC, who said that current pledges by governments to cut their emissions could, if confirmed and implemented, limit global warming to 2.1 C.

    But that level of temperature rise would still bring many problems, including food shortages, extreme heat, forest fires, sea level rise, a potential “refugee crisis” and negative impacts for the global economy and biodiversity, he added.

    The report provides an improved understanding of climate change and how it is already playing out around the world.

    All parts of the world are being affected. The report contains detailed information on impacts by region and fast-developing knowledge on attributing extreme weather events to climate change. It also offers an interactive atlas allowing people to check climatic changes where they live.

    Extreme heat is driving massive fires in Greece and Turkey, it said.

    Some harm from climate change – dwindling ice sheets, rising sea levels,worldwide and changes in the oceans as they lose oxygen and become more acidic – is “irreversible for centuries to millennia,” the report said.

    For the first time, the report offers an interactive atlas for people to see what has happened and may happen to where they live.

    The report includes specific scientific information on the polar regions, saying it is very likely the Arctic has warmed at more than twice the global rate over the past 50 years.

    The editorial continued, “But all is not lost. It is not too late to cut climate-heating emissions.

    “In a new move, scientists emphasised how cutting airborne levels of methane – a powerful but short-lived gas that has soared to record levels – could help curb short-term warming.

    “Lots of methane the atmosphere comes from leaks of natural gas, a major power source. Livestock also produces large amounts of the gas, a good chunk of it in cattle burps.”

    The Sharjah-based daily concluded by saying, “The target of ‘net zero’ human-caused carbon dioxide emissions may seem far-fetched under the moment given the propensity to violate environmental rules. Only time will tell.”

    UAE Press: Heal the world, save the earth

    “This is one report that the world could have done without during the pandemic. But a delay in releasing it would have meant massive destruction sooner than previously forecast by scientists,” noted a local English-language daily about the UN report on climate change, WAM states.

    “Monday’s report by 234 scientists was indeed a bombshell. The warning signs are there if one looks at floods in Europe and Asia. All three scenarios predicted by a United Nations report on the climate point to extreme weather where heat waves, drought and floods would hit the world in rapid succession,” Khaleej Times said in its editorial on August 10.

    The daily said that the Paris Agreement had planned to cap temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but those measures have proved ineffective, though the pandemic has slowed down development and emissions. Travel has been curbed due to a health crisis and industry has been hit, but a revival is expected by next year. There appears to be no escape as we lurch from one crisis to another.

    “Countries must, therefore, collectively find solutions to weather the climatic storms that are rapidly closing in on us,” it explained.

    “It is just guaranteed that it’s going to get worse,” said Linda Mearns, a senior climate scientist at the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research, who co-authored the report. “Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide,” she said. “We are already witnessing rising seas and melting ice caps. Storms and cyclones are getting more fierce as they advance. Greenhouse gas emissions are to blame with carbon and methane being the main culprits.

    “We will not mince words here: These are doomsday scenarios. A shift in global climate policy is, therefore, critical and immediate action is called for. And who is supposed to enforce these measures to prevent global warming.”

    The editorial continued, “Global institutions have been less than convincing during the pandemic. The United Nations is a toothless body that lacks enforcement powers. The World Health Organisation is battling a credibility crisis during the pandemic as countries scramble to get their populations vaccinated before the next wave.

    “Meanwhile, information is being used as a weapon of war on the Web and social media by organisations and even countries. Climate sceptics abound, and COVID-19 anti-vaxxers are disseminating fake news at will. The current health crisis is our immediate concern; heat and climate tragedies are viewed as random phenomena.

    “But thousands are dying from flooding and droughts, and millions have been displaced. Homes have been washed away and livelihoods are in peril as poverty stalks. Sadly, governments prioritise in these situations, and the immediate concern is the pandemic, a global tragedy that has destroyed billions of lives and livelihoods.”

    The Dubai-based daily concluded by saying, “Leaders realise they don’t have time to catch their breath. However, there is hope. If Big Governments can collaborate with Big Pharma to produce life-saving vaccines within a year, they can also find ways to prevent a global climate catastrophe in record time.”

    It is still possible to keep global warming at an acceptable level of 1.5 ° C – scientists

    IPCC has handed down a firm verdict to humanity on climate change: guilty. The latest research from scientists around the world confirms that heat waves and other extreme weather events are related to human activities, and especially to the burning of fossil fuels. In 20 years, the world may become 1.5° C warmer than pre-industrial levels. But it is still possible to keep the rise in average global temperature at a relatively acceptable level.

    These are the conclusions of the new IPCC report “Climate change 2021: the physical basis of science”, in which more than 200 scientists from 65 countries summarized data from more than 14 thousand of the most relevant scientific research. They analyzed and evaluated data on physical changes in the world that are already happening today and may happen in the future as a result of human activities: from large-scale forest fires to melting glaciers and devastating floods. We summarize in five points the main findings and figures of this important report.

    1. Human activity causes extreme weather events

    A previous similar IPCC report (2013) assessed human impact on the climate as “obvious”. This year’s report clearly states that this is an established fact, in which there can be no doubt. In addition, there is a lot of evidence that more specifically demonstrates the link between human activity and the extreme weather events it causes: more frequent and intense heat waves, melting glaciers, global warming and acidification.

    Thus, scientists are already directly linking specific extreme events to climate change caused by excessive greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, deforestation and other human activities. It is worth noting that scientists attribute most of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions to fossil fuel combustion.

    The rise in the average global temperature relative to the pre-industrial period (1850-1900) already reaches almost 1.1° C. At the same time, according to scientists, natural phenomena (volcanic eruptions, fluctuations in solar radiation) caused warming by less than 0.1° C. Therefore, anthropogenic impact is the main reason for the increase in average temperature on the Earth’s surface, which we see today. “There is no doubt that the atmosphere, oceans and earth have warmed under the influence of man,” the report concludes.

    Over the last decade, there have been significant developments and many discoveries in the science of attribution (study of attribution science) – the study of how climate change affects (or not) certain extreme weather events. Using improved models, for example, researchers have been able to find that the heat wave in Siberia in 2020 and the extreme heat in Asia in 2016 would be virtually impossible if humanity did not burn fossil fuels. Another study conducted by British scientists showed that 506 of 753 deaths during the heat wave in 2003 in Paris were caused by climate change.

    2. We are moving to increase the temperature by 1.5 ° C by 2040

    The scenarios summarized in the IPCC report show that with a 50% probability, a global warming mark of 1.5 ° C can be reached between 2021 and 2040. According to the scenario of very high greenhouse gas emissions, warming by 1.5° C may occur even earlier – by 2037.

    If humanity chooses the path of carbon-intensive development (scenario SSP5-8.5), the temperature may rise by 3.3 – 5.7° C by the end of this century compared to the pre-industrial period. This will be an unprecedented case, because in the last 3 million years on our planet, the climate has never become warmer by more than 2.5° C.

    The Policy Summary, which is part of the report, states that limiting temperature rises to 1.5° C can only occur if large-scale greenhouse gas emissions are reduced immediately.

    3. Larger and more expensive effects of warming on each fraction of a degree

    The report describes the effects of global warming at 1.5 ° C and how much worse the effects will be if the temperature rises even more. An increase in each degree is important because it will affect the intensity or frequency of extreme rainfall, the strength of droughts or heat waves, the loss of glaciers and snow. At the same time, the distribution of such effects of climate change on the regions of the world is rather uneven.

    For example, recent scientific evidence supports the conclusions of a special IPCC report on 1.5° C that even a small increase in average global temperature (+0.5° C) causes a worsening of droughts in some parts of the world. Several regions will face “more severe agricultural droughts even when warming stays at 2° C” with a high probability. For some regions, with an average probability, this will happen at 1.5° C: for the Mediterranean, southern Africa, southern Australia, central North America, and much of South America.

    With global warming at 3° C, there may be a complete loss of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which holds such a mass of ice, the melting of which can lead to an increase in sea level by 7.2 meters. A warming of 5° C could lead to the complete loss of West Antarctica, which holds ice equivalent to 3.3 meters. The result of such events will be a widespread change of coastlines. Scientists warn that the probability that this will happen increases with increasing warming.

    4. Irreversible changes are getting closer

    The report raises concerns about the possibility of irreversible climate change, which scientists call tipping points. Such events may include the above-mentioned melting of ice sheets: their destabilization will lead to a rapid and significant rise in sea level. Another example is the loss of forests with increasing temperature, as a result of which they will lose the ability to absorb carbon dioxide, which will lead to even greater warming. In particular, the authors mention the unique ecosystem of the Amazon forest, for which the turning point may come during this century due to constant deforestation and a warmer climate.

    Although it is still possible to contain global warming at 1.5° C, we have already put significant warming into the climate system. This means that even if tough measures are taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, humanity will still face more dangerous and destructive extreme weather events than those we see today. This underscores the need to invest in adaptation to climate change.

    5. The regional effects of climate change have become clearer

    Since the last IPCC report (2013), climate models have become more sophisticated. This allowed scientists to analyze current and projected extreme temperature and hydrological phenomena at the regional level. In this way, scientists have gained a better understanding of what the climate will look like in different parts of the world. They gathered this information in the Climate Change Atlas, which is part of this year’s report.

    Scientists have found that the Arctic is warming the fastest of all regions of the planet, and that the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere can warm 2-4 times more than the world average. It is also likely that the Gulf Stream will weaken during this century. Scientists warn that changes in currents in the Atlantic Ocean will disrupt regional weather conditions, weakening African and Asian monsoons and exacerbating droughts in Europe.

    “We have to take the sound of scientists’ conclusions as a powerful call to action. Over the next decade, the fate of many future generations will be decided, as we will determine in what climate and under what conditions they will live. It is still possible to keep warming at 1.5° С, but this requires a systematic and large-scale transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources today, to change the logic of using natural resources from wasteful to prudent and prudent,” said Anna Ackermann, Ecoaction NGO’s climate and energy policy expert.

    This nearly 4,000-page report is the contribution of the first working group of experts (WG I) in the framework of the IPCC’s work on the Sixth Assessment Report, which is due to be published in 2022. The second working group is currently working on summarizing information and research on “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability to Climate Change”, and the third working group is working on “Combating Climate Change”. All researchers work on relevant reports on a volunteer basis, ie free of charge.

    IPCC was established in 1988 to provide a comprehensive assessment of the state of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge on climate change, its causes, potential consequences and response strategies.

    There is no ‘getting back to normal’ with climate breakdown

    As the IPCC report makes clear, there are now only unknown and unfamiliar alternative futures that we can choose from, Mark Blyth, a political economist at Brown University, states in the Guardian.

    Academic papers often take time to leach out into public consciousness. One that did not filter through was a study from Anglia Ruskin University that analysed “nodes of persisting complexity”, in the face of “global decomplexification event”. What’s that, you ask. Places you can probably still get electricity and toilet paper when climate breakdown destroys the rest of the world. New Zealand and Finland top the list. Perhaps coincidentally, it recently emerged that Google founder Larry Page has been granted New Zealand residency.

    The recently released “last chance saloon” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report will surely add pressure on governments to “do something” about all this. After all, we can’t all move to a nice “persistent node”. But doing something, as we know, is hard. So, what we can expect instead is for governments to redouble their usage of a time-tested rhetoric of distraction called “getting back to normal”.

    Instead, of telling us that we need to truly transform the way we live and organise society, we will be told that we can still carry on as we were, except perhaps with our fossil fuels and one-use goods replaced with green energy and recyclables. Maybe a bit less air travel, but still ‘back to normal’ with green edges.

    This way of thinking is perhaps as dangerous as the climate crisis itself. While banging on about inflation as a threat to the poor is a rhetoric of reaction, getting back to normal is a rhetoric of distraction. Rather than pandering to our prejudices, it builds directly upon how our psychology has evolved over millennia – it plays upon two things that we are hardwired to believe.

    The first is what statisticians call “mean reversion”. Basically, if you see someone really tall, that person is labelled an outlier. Most people are of middling height and so we all reasonably expect most of the people we encounter to be our “normal” size. Nassim Nicholas Taleb famously demolished this line of thinking with his idea of “black swan” events. The fact that you expect only short people to show up makes you vulnerable to the appearance of tall people. Apply to banking crises, pandemics etc. This type of thinking makes us vulnerable to extreme events.

    The second is that there is equilibrium associated with that middle-of-the-distribution model where things don’t change very much. Just as I assume there are no 8ft people in my home town (simply because I have not seen one yet), I presume that shocks to the world I live in (meeting an 8ft neighbour) are temporary deviations from some kind of stable self-generating order (hanging around with folks under 6ft is normal).

    These ideas portray a comforting world because it implies, in the case of markets for example, that big crises can happen, but after a while, we will get back to normal. Or, in the case of pandemics and novel viruses, yes, that was a global crisis, but now with vaccines we can get back to normal. For everything there is a season etc.

    The black swan is an ever present problem. But the equilibrium assumption may be even more pernicious because it rests upon a belief that human societies, and the natural systems that support them, have powerful self-equilibrating tendencies. Push too much one way and things break, sure, but then the system provides feedback and we restore the equilibrium – we get back to normal.

    The economy is ground zero for such thinking. Not only is economics explicitly based on ideas of equilibrium, but in terms of policy we can normalise anything no matter how odd it truly is. Consider that when the global financial system was bailed out in 2008-9 by the world’s central banks, actions such as quantitative easing were supposed to be emergency measures. But over the following decade propping up markets became the new normal, so when the pandemic hit governments everywhere added 30% to the global debt stock while at the same time talking about getting back to normal.

    But this pretence does not work with climate breakdown, it is a giant non-linear outcome generator with wicked convexities. In plain English, there is no mean, there is no average, there is no return to normal. It’s one way traffic into the unknown. As study after study shows, the one thing humans hate dealing with is uncertainty. Risk – odds you can count on – is fine. But systems with truly random outcomes freak us out. We are also terrible at dealing with scale. As evolutionary psychologists put it, “Our modern skulls house a stone age mind.” It evolved to solve problems in a pretty stable mean-reverting world with face-to-face interactions. When we encountered things that freaked us out in such a world, we filled in the gaps with a mutually agreed story (religion or political ideology, for example) that helped us ignore what we could not explain.

    But now we live in a world we can explain, and yet rather than accept what we know and act upon that knowledge, we increasingly imagine our world to be different from how it actually is. That we can get back to normal (albeit with a few modifications) and that normal is a place of stability and comfort. “Yes, there are wildfires, but there are also floods, so it balances out, right?” Our coping mechanism is to ignore the big picture and focus on the local, which gives us a greater illusion of control at the price of increasingly misunderstanding the world we actually live in.

    So, if you hear a politician talking about “getting back to normal”, remember that while this is comforting they are peddling a dangerous idea we are hardwired to accept. And if we keep accepting it as a plausible goal in the area of climate crisis, we will end up further away than ever from where we really need to be. As well as accepting the facts, it’s time to give up on getting back to normal and face the fact that there is no normal to return to. As the IPCC report makes clear, there are now only unknown and unfamiliar alternative futures that we can choose from. Embracing that uncertainty, rather than denying it, is the first step to choosing the right one.

    Global food supplies will suffer as temperatures rise – climate crisis report

    Food production around the world will suffer as global heating reaches 1.5C, with serious effects on the food supply in the next two decades, scientists have warned, following the biggest scientific report yet on the climate crisis.

    Rising temperatures will mean there will be more times of year when temperatures exceed what crops can stand, according to the IPCC, in its sixth assessment report published on August 9.

    Politicians around the world continued to respond to the report, and The Guardian made a brief review about it. Boris Johnson, British prime minister, published a video on his social media channel, setting out the four areas he wanted to focus on in the run up to the autumn’s climate change summit: outlawing coal for power generation by 2040, ditto fossil fuels for transport; getting countries to stump up cash to help poorer nations with climate change; and ending “the massacre of the forests”.

    US president Joe Biden was under pressure to get his climate change legislation passed after saying “We can’t wait to tackle the climate crisis. The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. And the cost of inaction keeps mounting.”

    In Australia PM Scott Morrison pointed the finger at China, saying in a press conference on Tuesday that it could not be ignored that the developing world accounts for “two-thirds of global emissions”, and adding that China’s emissions “accounted for more than the entire OECD combined”.

    The Chinese government issued a statement to AFP saying that “China has insisted on prioritising sustainable, green and low-carbon development”. It added that President Xi Jinping intended to “strictly control” the growth of coal power plants.

    Challenges to our food production systems will be just one of the impacts, the report found: changing rainfall patterns will leave many areas vulnerable to drought, while extreme weather will make agriculture harder and damage crops.

    Bonnie Waring, senior lecturer at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, said: “Across the globe, over 80% of calories consumed come from just 10 crop plants, including rice, maize, and wheat. Although a few staple crops – like soybean – may do better in a warmer future, warming temperatures and increasingly frequent droughts are likely to reduce yields of these key crops across many regions of the globe.”

    The full spectrum of the damage will not be fully revealed until next year, when the IPCC publishes the second part of its landmark assessment, which will cover the impacts of climate breakdown on key areas of human life and the planet.

    The first part of the report, published this week, deals with the physical science basis of climate change – that is, what will happen to the atmosphere, seas and land – but from those finding many of the likely harms to agriculture can already be assessed.

    Ilan Kelman, professor of disasters and health at University College London, said: ““If we fail to act, then significant numbers of people could face major problems with food. Increased heat and humidity will harm current crops and livestock, with droughts and floods having the potential to wipe out harvests as well. Massive shifts in agricultural practices, including changes to crops and livestock, would be needed to counter these effects.”

    David Reay, professor of carbon management at Edinburgh University, added: “For key staples like rice – the main source of nourishment for over a billion of us – warming is not just changing rainfall patterns, it is threatening the glacial meltwaters that irrigate millions of hectares of South Asian croplands.”

    Extreme weather this year has also revealed another major impact: when “wet bulb” temperatures soar, people cannot safely work in the fields. These conditions occur when both heat and humidity are high, and people’s bodies cannot wick away sweat efficiently.

    Some people have speculated that warming temperatures could be good for agriculture, by allowing for longer growing seasons in northern latitudes, and from the fertilising effect of more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which plants absorb from the air as they grow. Mark Maslin, professor of earth system science at UCL, dismissed these claims. “Any benefits are likely to be small and will be outweighed by the damages and the risk of extreme weather,” he said, warning that food prices rises will also be a major danger.

    Animal husbandry will also be affected, though reducing our reliance on meat and dairy products is likely to be one of the key ways of slowing global heating: Methane, much of it from agricultural sources including ruminants and manure, is one of the leading causes of climate breakdown identified in the IPCC assessment report.

    Rob Percival, head of food and health policy at the UK’s Soil Association, said people did not need to give up eating or producing meat, but that food consumption patterns needed to change alongside food production. “A rapid transition to agroecological farming offers a healthier and more sustainable approach to producing our food and requires a shift in our diets to less and better meat, with an emphasis on fresh fruit and vegetables and the consumption of more pulses and legumes,” he said.

    Shefali Sharma, director of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, told the Guardian that all areas would be affected, not just the poorer regions of the world where many farmers are already vulnerable, and that all governments must act urgently. “Governments must begin taking urgent steps now to build resilience into agri-food systems. This means building soil health, agricultural biodiversity in crops and animals, serious extension work that builds on traditional knowledge and local breeds and seeds and adequate support for adaptation.”

    Major climate changes inevitable and irreversible – IPCC’s starkest warning yet

    Human activity is changing the Earth’s climate in ways “unprecedented” in thousands or hundreds of thousands of years, with some of the changes now inevitable and “irreversible”, climate scientists have warned.

    Within the next two decades, temperatures are likely to rise by more than 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels, breaching the ambition of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, and bringing widespread devastation and extreme weather.

    Only rapid and drastic reductions in greenhouse gases in this decade can prevent such climate breakdown, with every fraction of a degree of further heating likely to compound the accelerating effects, according to the International Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading authority on climate science.

    The comprehensive assessment of climate science published on August 9, the sixth such report from the IPCC since 1988, has been eight years in the making, marshalling the work of hundreds of experts and peer-review studies. It represents the world’s full knowledge to date of the physical basis of climate change, and found that human activity was “unequivocally” the cause of rapid changes to the climate, including sea level rises, melting polar ice and glaciers, heatwaves, floods and droughts.

    World leaders said the stark findings must force new policy measures as a matter of urgency, to shift the global economy to a low-carbon footing. Governments from 197 countries will meet this November in Glasgow for vital UN climate talks, called Cop26.

    Each nation is asked to come to Cop26 with fresh plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level that will limit global heating to no more than 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels, the ambition of the Paris climate agreement and a goal the IPCC emphasised was still possible, but only just.

    António Guterres, the UN secretary general, warned: “[This report] is a code red for humanity. 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.”

    He called for an end to new coal plants and to new fossil fuel exploration and development, and for governments, investors and businesses to pour all their efforts into a low-carbon future. “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet,” he said.

    Boris Johnson, prime minister of the UK, hosts of Cop26, 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 … I hope today’s report will be a wake-up call for the world to take action now, before we meet in Glasgow in November for the critical Cop26 summit.”

    John Kerry, special envoy to US president Joe Biden, said: “The IPCC report underscores the overwhelming urgency of this moment. The world must come together before the ability to limit global warming to 1.5C is out of reach … Glasgow must be a turning point in this crisis.”

    Temperatures have now risen by about 1.1C since the period 1850 to 1900, but stabilising the climate at 1.5C was still possible, the IPCC said. That level of heating would still result in increasing heatwaves, more intense storms, and more serious droughts and floods, but would represent a much smaller risk than 2° C.

     Richard Allan, a professor of climate science at University of Reading, and an IPCC lead author, said each fraction of a degree of warming was crucial. “You are promoting moderate extreme weather events to the premier league of extreme events [with further temperature rises],” he said.

    A burned fire engine and fire station in downtown Greenville, California, on 7 August.

    Civil society groups urged governments to act without delay. Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK, said: “This is not the first generation of world leaders to be warned by scientists about the gravity of the climate crisis, but they’re the last that can afford to ignore them. The increasing frequency, scale and intensity of climate disasters that have scorched and flooded many parts of the world in recent months is the result of past inaction. Unless world leaders finally start to act on these warnings, things will get much, much worse.”

    Stephen Cornelius, chief adviser on climate change at WWF, added: “This is a stark assessment of the frightening future that awaits us if we fail to act. With the world on the brink of irreversible harm, every fraction of a degree of warming matters to limit the dangers.”

    Even if the world manages to limit warming to 1.5° C, some long-term impacts of warming already in train are likely to be inevitable and irreversible. These include sea level rises, the melting of Arctic ice, and the warming and acidification of the oceans. Drastic reductions in emissions can stave off worse climate change, according to IPCC scientists, but will not return the world to the more moderate weather patterns of the past.

    Ed Hawkins, a professor of climate science at the University of Reading, and a lead author for the IPCC, said: “We are already experiencing climate change, including more frequent and extreme weather events, and for many of these impacts there is no going back.”

    This report is likely to be the last report from the IPCC while there is still time to stay below 1.5C, added Joeri Rogelj, director of research at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, and an IPCC lead author. “This report shows the closer we can keep to 1.5C, the more desirable the climate we will be living in, and it shows we can stay within 1.5C but only just – only if we cut emissions in the next decade,” he said. “If we don’t, by the time of the next IPCC report at the end of this decade, 1.5C will be out the window.”

    IPCC’s report will be followed next year by two further instalments: part two will focus on the impacts of the climate crisis; and the third will detail the potential solutions. Work on the report has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, which delayed publication by some months, and forced scientists to collaborate mainly online and through video conferencing.What countries are close to 100% renewables? Let’s check here.

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