Humanity has a ‘brief and rapidly closing window’ to avoid a hotter, deadly future, U.N. climate report says
Latest IPCC report details escalating toll — but top scientists say the world still can choose a less catastrophic path
In the hotter and more hellish world humans are creating, parts of the planet could become unbearable in the not-so-distant future, a panel of the world’s foremost scientists warned Monday in an exhaustive report on the escalating toll of climate change.
Unchecked greenhouse gas emissions will raise sea levels several feet, swallowing small island nations and overwhelming even the world’s wealthiest coastal regions. Drought, heat, hunger and disaster may force millions of people from their homes. Coral reefs could vanish, along with a growing number of animal species. Disease-carrying insects would proliferate. Deaths — from malnutrition, extreme heat, pollution — will surge.
These are some of the grim projections detailed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body dedicated to providing policymakers with regular assessments of the warming world.
Drawing on thousands of academic studies from around the globe, the sweeping analysis finds that climate change is already causing “dangerous and widespread disruption” to the natural world, as well as billions of people around the planet. Failure to curb pollution from fossil fuels and other human activities, it says, will condemn the world to a future that is both universally dangerous and deeply unequal.
Low-income countries, which generate only a tiny fraction of global emissions, will experience the vast majority of deaths and displacement from the worst-case warming scenarios, the IPCC warns. Yet these nations have the least capacity to adapt — a disparity that extends to even the basic research needed to understand looming risks.
“I have seen many scientific reports in my time, but nothing like this,” U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said in a statement. Noting the litany of devastating impacts that already are unfolding, he described the document as “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.”
“This abdication of leadership is criminal,” Guterres added. “The world’s biggest polluters are guilty of arson of our only home.”
Yet if there is a glimmer of hope in the more than 3,500-page report, it is that the world still has a chance to choose a less catastrophic path. While some climate impacts are destined to worsen, the amount that Earth ultimately warms is not yet written in stone.
The report makes clear, however, that averting the worst-case scenarios will require nothing less than transformational change on a global scale.
Read the full Washington Post review
Read the summary prepared by Ralph Watts of Dorset CAN
Read the article by Belinda Bawden of Dorset CAN
Pledge To Net Zero – a relatively new initiative tackling greenhouse gas emissions within the UK’s environmental services sector – has formally joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Race to Zero campaign.
Race To Zero is a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors and universities for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth. All members are committed to the same overarching goal: achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the very latest.
It mobilises a coalition of leading net zero initiatives, representing 23 regions, 454 cities, 1,397 companies, 569 universities, and 74 investors, alone making up over 12% of the global economy. This coalition across economic sectors joins 120 countries in the largest ever alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.
Pledge To Net Zero was launched in late 2019 to convene fast climate action in the UK’s environmental sector. It requires signatories to commit to deliver a greenhouse gas target in line with either a 1.5°C climate change scenario, or well below 2°C.
So far, 73 firms and institutions have joined Pledge To Net Zero, covering around 80% of the UK environmental consulting market and 60,000 UK employees.
Read more from IEMA website
Making Peace with Nature: A scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies
UN secretary-general, António Guterres, launching a major new UN report says in the Foreword:
“Humanity is waging war on nature. This is senseless and suicidal. The consequences of our recklessness are already apparent in human suffering, towering economic losses and the accelerating erosion of life on Earth. Ending our war does not mean surrendering hard-won development gains. Nor does it cancel the rightful aspiration of poorer nations and people to enjoy better living standards. On the contrary, making peace with nature, securing its health and
building on the critical and undervalued benefits that it provides are key to a prosperous and sustainable future for all.
This report provides the bedrock for hope. By bringing together the latest scientific evidence showing the impacts and threats of the climate emergency, the biodiversity crisis and the pollution that kills millions of people every year, it makes clear that our war on nature has left the planet broken. But it also guides us to a safer place by providing a peace plan and a post-war rebuilding programme. By transforming how we view nature, we can recognize its true value. By reflecting this value in policies, plans and economic systems, we can channel investments into activities that restore nature and are rewarded for it.
By recognizing nature as an indispensable ally, we can unleash human ingenuity in the service of sustainability and secure our own health and well-being alongside that of the planet. Making peace with nature is the defining task of the coming decades.”
Read the report