A major UN “report of reports” from the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), outlines options that can still be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change despite the widespread inaction by world leaders since 1985, when global warming alarms were first ignored.
The latest warning echoes previous claims that “humanity is “humans are responsible for all global heating over the past 200 years leading to a current temperature rise of 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels, which has led to more frequent and hazardous weather events that have caused increasing destruction to people and the planet.”
The study, “Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report”, released on Monday following a week-long IPCC session in Interlaken, brings into sharp focus the losses and damages experienced now, and expected to continue into the future, which are hitting the most vulnerable people and ecosystems especially hard.
Temperatures have already risen to 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a consequence of more than a century of burning fossil fuels, as well as unequal and unsustainable energy and land use.
This has resulted in more frequent and intense extreme weather events that have caused increasingly dangerous impacts on nature and people in every region of the world.
Climate-driven food and water insecurity is expected to grow with increased warming: when the risks combine with other adverse events, such as pandemics or conflicts, they become even more difficult to manage.
If temperatures are to be kept to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, deep, rapid, and sustained greenhouse gas emissions reductions will be needed in all sectors this decade, the reports states.
Emissions need to go down now, and be cut by almost half by 2030, if this goal has any chance of being achieved.
The solution proposed by the IPCC is “climate resilient development,” which involves integrating measures to adapt to climate change with actions to reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in ways that provide wider benefits.
Examples include access to clean energy, low-carbon electrification, the promotion of zero and low carbon transport, and improved air quality: the economic benefits for people’s health from air quality improvements alone would be roughly the same, or possibly even larger, than the costs of reducing or avoiding emissions
“The greatest gains in wellbeing could come from prioritizing climate risk reduction for low-income and marginalized communities, including people living in informal settlements,” said Christopher Trisos, one of the report’s authors. “Accelerated climate action will only come about if there is a many-fold increase in finance. Insufficient and misaligned finance is holding back progress.”
“The main takeaway from the IPPC 6th assessment AR6 Synthesis Report is that the response to global warming has been totally inadequate to tackle climate change, which in this context is a term that means preventing the total collapse of civilization,” said Lisa McCormick, a New Jersey environmentalist and political activist. “The latest report plainly states ‘There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all’ but just last week, the Biden administration approved a disastrous oil drilling project in Alaska and other world leaders are showing no greater concern.”