SWITZERLAND: According to the latest assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Earth is on the verge of experiencing irreversible damage to its climate.
The report warns that humanity still has a chance to prevent the worst of changes in environmental activities’ future harms, but this opportunity is quickly diminishing.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized the role of human actions in the climate crisis. He stated that humans are responsible for nearly all of the global warming that has occurred over the last 200 years.
The rate of temperature rise over the past 50 years is the highest in 2,000 years, and carbon dioxide concentrations are at their highest in at least two million years. The situation is urgent, and the climate time bomb is ticking.
To limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times, the world must cut 60% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 compared to 2019 levels. The report calls for “no new coal” and the elimination of its use in wealthy countries by 2030 and in developing countries by 2040.
The report also urges developed countries to transition to carbon-free electricity generation by 2035, which would exclude gas-fired power plants. Scientists are stressing the urgency of the situation as the world is only a few tenths of a degree away from the globally accepted goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Report co-author Francis X. Johnson, a climate, land, and policy scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute, warns that after 1.5 degrees, the risks start to pile up.
The report highlights several “tipping points” at which we could see species extinction, including coral reefs, irreversible melting of ice sheets, and sea-level rise on the order of several meters.
The IPCC report from last year warned that countries are not prepared to face the consequences of human-induced climate change. The lives of billions of people worldwide are already being impacted by the dangerous and extensive upheaval that climate change is currently generating in nature.
Increased heatwaves, droughts, and floods are already exceeding the tolerance thresholds of plants and animals, leading to mass mortality in species like trees and corals.
The world needs to take immediate and significant action to address climate change. The choices and actions taken in this decade will have impacts for thousands of years.
Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health, and we must act now to prevent the worst of its harms.
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