The World Is On Fire: IPCC Report 2021
The report is ‘code red for humanity’, UN chief warns.
With wildfires ravaging Turkey and Greece and floods engulfing India, the impact of climate change is growing increasingly difficult to ignore. The report by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released on August 9, 2021, reveals that heatwaves, droughts and floods will worsen unprecedentedly in the next decade.
The report has concluded that human activity is the “unequivocal and indisputable” cause of climate change since the late 1800s. The last five years have documented the highest record-breaking temperatures since 1850. Additionally, the global surface temperature between 2011 and 2020 was 1.09C higher than the decade between 1850 and 1990.
The nearly 4000-page analysis of over 14,000 scientific papers has also attributed the loss of arctic glaciers since the 1990s to human influence. The climate catastrophe is worsening rapidly; its effects on the planet are irreversible, according to Professor Hawkins from the University of Reading, UK. The survival of mankind is now at stake; scientists have modeled a 2 meter rise in sea levels by the end of this century, potentially causing devastating coastal flooding by 2100. The report asserts that a 1.5C rise in temperatures will be reached by 2040 in all scenarios, nullifying the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal and global governments' leisurely efforts in attaining it. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are now at their historic peak from the last 2 million years.
However, scientists have expressed hope that if global emissions are slashed in half by 2030 and net zero carbon emissions are achieved by 2050, the effects of climate change can be curbed. This involves minimizing greenhouse gas emissions through using sustainable technology, increasing vegetation cover and more.
Professor Carolina Vera, vice chair of IPCC’s Working Group I, stated, “The report clearly shows that we are already living the consequences of climate change everywhere. But we will experience further and concurrent changes that increase with every additional beat of warming.”