UNITED KINGDOM: The world has seen record-breaking temperatures, raging wildfires and devastating flooding in recent months, however, they seem to be only a glimpse of what can be expected if global heating takes hold, scientists say. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading authority on climate change, prepares to warn of an imminent and dire risk to the global climate system.
The IPCC on Monday will publish the world’s largest-ever report into climate change, the most comprehensive assessment yet, less than three months before vital UN talks that will determine the stark reality of the future course of life on Earth.
Scientists say it will likely be bad news – but with “nuggets of optimism”. And environmental experts have said it will be a “massive wake-up call” for governments to cut emissions.
Snippets of what the report concerns
According to the panel, some papers studied show that some of the changes humans are inadvertently making to the climate will not be reversed for even thousands of years.
In the last report in 2013, the IPCC said that humans were the “dominant cause” of global warming since the 1950s.
Apart from the question of humanity’s role in creating the climate crisis, warnings of how soon global temperatures could rise 1.5C above pre-industrial levels will be given by the report. Experts say the impacts of climate change are far more severe when the increase is greater than 1.5C.
Research does confirm though, that if politicians can stick to holding global temperature increase down to 1.5C, in pre-industrial times, the worst catastrophes can still be avoided.
One of the most important questions concerns sea-level rise. The panel studied papers showing that sea level would continue to rise for hundreds or possibly thousands of years because of the heat already trapped in the ocean deep.
The IPCC’s findings – which will be revealed at a press conference at 09:00 BST – will also be used during a major summit hosted by the U.K. in November.
The UN-run summit, COP26, is seen as a critical moment if climate change is going to be brought under control. Leaders from 196 countries will meet to try and agree to action.
Alok Sharma, the U.K. minister who is leading the summit, said at the weekend that the world was almost running out of time to avoid “catastrophe” – this is the moment to act upon it.