Analysis: UN Climate Report Describes Rapidly Warming World Where “No One Is Safe”

Children hold placards at a global rally against climate change in Nicosia, Cyprus, September 27, 2019. REUTERS / Yiannis Kourtoglou / File Photo

  • Extreme weather conditions are more frequent and severe, affecting all
  • Adapting to a Warmer World as Impacts Increase Urgently
  • Infrastructure must be built to withstand flooding, rising water levels

August 9 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A flagship UN science report released on Monday showed that no one is immune to the accelerating effects of climate change and that there is an urgent need to prepare and protect people as extreme weather conditions and rising seas are hitting harder than expected.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, written by 234 scientists, says global warming of around 1.1 degrees Celsius has caused many changes in different regions – from droughts and storms to more serious to rising seas.

These will all increase with warming, but it is not too late to reduce emissions from global warming in order to keep the temperature increase at the internationally agreed targets of “well below” 2C and ideally 1. 5C – which would help stop or slow down some of the impacts. , according to the report. Read more

UN officials have said the IPCC has increasingly sounded the alarm bells in its regular reports over the past four decades, but this has not elicited adequate political responses.

“The world listened but did not hear; the world listened but did not act forcefully – and therefore climate change is a problem that exists now, ”said Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program.

“No one is safe and it is getting worse faster,” she told reporters when launching the report online.

IPCC Chairman Hoesung Lee said the report offered a better understanding of climate change and how it is already manifesting around the world.

“This tells us that there is no question that human activities are causing climate change and making extreme weather events more frequent and severe,” he said, describing it as a “valuable toolbox. “for negotiators during the COP26 climate talks in November.

All regions of the world are affected, he added, noting that the report contains detailed information on impacts by region, as well as rapidly developing knowledge on attributing extreme weather events to climate change.

It also offers an interactive atlas for people to check on climate change where they live.

Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which hosts the IPCC, said that governments’ current commitments to reduce their emissions could, if confirmed and implemented, limit global warming to 2.1 ° C.

But this level of temperature rise would still lead to many problems, including food shortages, extreme heat, forest fires, rising sea levels, a potential “refugee crisis” and negative impacts on the world. world economy and biodiversity, he added.

In addition to reducing emissions, “it is essential to pay attention to climate adaptation as the negative climate trend will continue for decades and in some cases for thousands of years,” he said on the occasion. the launch of the report.

One effective way to adapt, he said, is to invest in early warning services for threats like droughts and floods – but only half of WMO’s 195 member countries have them. currently, fueling human and economic losses.

There are also serious gaps in weather and weather forecasting systems in Africa, parts of Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific, he noted.

RESILIENT INFRASTRUCTURE

Youba Sokona, IPCC vice-chair and special advisor on sustainable development at the South Center think tank, said the report would help African policymakers improve their capacity to understand climate change and anticipate what might happen.

This would allow them to design more resilient infrastructure, such as larger dams in drought-prone areas or higher flood defenses in cities, and to seek funding for such projects, he said. told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by video call from Bamako, the capital of Mali.

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

This has led to more episodes of extreme heat, thawing permafrost and longer fire seasons, while the Arctic could be ice free in summer at least once by 2050, a- he declared.

Lead author of the IPCC report, Dirk Notz, who heads sea ice research at the German University of Hamburg, said the Arctic was “our planet’s early warning system”, the change climate manifesting itself earlier and stronger.

He said policymakers should use the new report to plan for potentially higher sea levels than previously predicted ranges.

For example, if building a coastal breakwater to protect against water 1m higher this century, it would be a good idea to allow it to be elevated to cope with an elevation of 2m if necessary.

“I hope … that society and policy makers really understand what is at stake here – that we are moving out of the comfort zone of our climate system that we have lived in for thousands of years and are moving towards completely uncharted territory, “he added.

Reporting by Megan Rowling @meganrowling; edited by Zoé Tabary. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org/climate

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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