If governments and companies around the world do not take immediate action to abandon fossil fuels and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the 1.5°C threshold – set by the Paris Agreement – will be exceeded irreparably, with dire consequences for the planet. . From rising sea levels to giant fires and ocean acidification, these consequences already observed today will be taken on a larger scale, driving the planet into a climate abyss from which it will no longer be possible to escape. These are the conclusions of the sixth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which will be discussed in November by more than 190 countries during COP26.
Climate scientists warn that human activity is modifying the Earth’s climate in ways unmatched for thousands of years, with some changes that are both inevitable and irreversible. Over the next two decades, temperatures are expected to rise more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, negating the ambition of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, and leading to widespread chaos and harsh weather conditions.
Comprehensive scientific report on climate deterioration
Only rapid and drastic reductions in greenhouse gases during this decade can prevent such a deterioration in the climate, with every bit of additional warming likely to exacerbate the effects of the acceleration, according to the International Panel of Experts on Climate Change (IPCC). The world’s leading reference in climatology.
Monday’s Comprehensive Climate Science Assessment, the sixth such report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 1988, spanned eight years, gathering the work of hundreds of experts and peer-reviewed studies. It represents the full knowledge to date of the physical basis of climate change, and finds that human activity has been “unequivocally” the cause of rapid changes in climate, including sea level rise, melting polar ice and glaciers, heat waves, floods and droughts.
World leaders say the astonishing results must urgently dictate new policy measures to shift the global economy to a low-carbon base. The governments of 197 countries will meet in Glasgow in November for vital UN climate talks called Cop26. Every country is invited to come to Cop26 with new plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level that will limit global warming to no more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
The Climate Emergency: A Real Consensus
António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations warned: ” This report is a red symbol for humanity. The alarm bells are deaf and the evidence is irrefutable: Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at grave risk. ».
He called for an end to new coal-fired power plants and the exploration and development of new types of fossil fuels, and also called on governments, investors and companies to put all their efforts into a low-carbon future. ” This report should explain the end of coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet ».
« Today’s report is a realistic read, and it is clear that the next decade will be critical to securing the future of our planet… I hope today’s report will be a call to action. Wake up the world’s call to action now, before meeting in Glasgow in November for the crucial COP26 summit Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, announced the host of Cop26.
John Kerry, US President Joe Biden’s special envoy, adds: The IPCC report underscores the urgency of this moment. The world must come together before the ability to limit global warming to 1.5°C becomes out of reach… Glasgow must be a turning point in this crisis ».
Climate change with dire consequences
Temperatures have risen by about 1.1°C since 1850-1900, but climate stabilization at 1.5°C is still possible, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This level of warming could lead to more heat waves, more intense storms, and more severe droughts and floods, but could pose a risk well below 2°C. Every fraction of the degree of warming is critical, says Richard Allan, professor of climatology at the University of Reading and lead author of the IPCC paper.
Several NGOs urged governments to act without delay. Doug Barr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK says: They are not the first generation of world leaders to whom scientists have warned of the gravity of the climate crisis, but they are the last who can ignore it. The increasing frequency, scope and severity of climate disasters that have burned and inundated many parts of the world in recent months is a result of the inaction of the past. ».
« This is a stark assessment of the frightening future that awaits us if we do not act. As the world stands on the brink of irreversible evil, every bit of a degree of warming is important for risk reduction says Stephen Cornelius, Senior Climate Change Adviser at the World Wide Fund for Nature.
Even if the world manages to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C, it is likely that some of the long-term effects of warming already underway will be inevitable and irreversible. These include sea level rise, Arctic ice melt, and ocean warming and acidification. According to IPCC scientists, drastic cuts in emissions may prevent more severe climate change, but they will not return the world to the milder weather conditions of the past.
Stay under 1.5°C
This report is likely to be the last IPCC report before the 1.5C mark, according to Gwerri Rugeli, director of research at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, and lead author of the IPCC report. ” This report shows that the closer we get to 1.5°C, the more desirable the climate we will live in, and shows that we can stay below 1.5°C, but only if we reduce emissions in the next decade. If we don’t, by the time of the next IPCC report at the end of this decade, we will have crossed 1.5°C. ».
Next year Monday’s report will be followed by two more parts: Part two will focus on the effects of the climate crisis. The third will detail potential solutions. Work on the report has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, which delayed its publication for a few months and forced scientists to collaborate primarily online and via video conferencing.
“Organizer. Social media geek. General communicator. Bacon scholar. Proud pop culture trailblazer.”