The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released the much-awaited Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) to share its findings on the impacts of global temperature. Undoubtedly, humans have caused some great damages to the environment which has now become irreversible. The warnings about human activities that were being ignored throughout the years just became real. Humans have finally overheated the Earth with their actions and lack of actions. IPCC report revealed that the world is rapidly closing in on the climate threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Scientists warn that if the global temperature rises beyond this, the chances of extreme weather, drought, flood, wildfires, and food scarcity will also rise dramatically.
IPCC is the United Nations (UN) body that measures the science behind climate change. It was established in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It provides periodic assessments to world leaders regarding climate change so that they can strategize solutions.
IPCC Report finds Humans Guilty of Climate Crisis
According to IPCC, the changes they observed in climate never happen over thousands of years. Some of the drastic changes are already starting to appear like the rising sea level which last time happened 3000 years ago. Oceans were this acidic 2 million years ago. The rise in temperature as high as the current one happened 6500 years ago. Moreover, the world hasn’t been heating this fast as it was 2000 years ago.
The world has already reached 1C of global heating which is dangerously close to the 1.5C tipping point. The burning of fossil fuels, destruction of forests, and various other activities have destabilized the mild climate system in which human civilization began. The volume of Carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air has reached its highest point in nearly 2 million years. Each ton of CO2 released in the air increases the impacts and frequency of climate disasters.
The IPCC report also detailed that all of this is already blowing back on humanity as heatwaves, heavy rain, and water disasters are becoming stronger. They have not been this frequent since the 1950s. Drought has been increasing in more than 90% of the regions, where reliable data is available. The number of hurricanes and cyclones has also increased since the 1970s.
The Future looks Dark
The report emphasized the fact that all countries agreed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions but still failed. In the 2018 report, IPCC discussed the importance of keeping the temperature below 1.5C in detail. Scientists observed that greenhouse gas emissions have only gotten worse since then. Now scientists fear that there is no time left to avoid the effects of dangerous climate change. However, it can be prevented from causing further damage to the planet and all life that grows here. The criticism has fallen upon the world leaders for taking the matter lightly.
Due to inaction, global heating is inevitable, the report says. Whatever happens to emissions, the temperature is predicted to reach 1.5C in a couple of decades. Then even cutting emissions, which would be a slow process, will cause the temperature to rise to 2C. If the world fails to reduce emissions in the next 2 decades, then there will 3C climate catastrophe. And, if human activity remains the same then there could be hell on Earth with 4C to 5C warming.
Extreme heatwaves were expected once in every 50 years but they are already happening in each decade. With 1.5C warming, these heatwaves will occur about every 5 years and with 2C, every 3.5 years. Moreover, If the world really starts to produce 4C temperature, this will happen every 15 months.
What is the Solution?
In the final section of the IPCC report, the researchers discussed solutions to control the impact of climate change. Since 1850, humans have emitted around 2,400 billion tons of CO2 and there is only room for another 400 to have at least a 66% chance of keeping it around 1.5C. It means that humans have exhausted 86% of the world’s carbon budget already. Nonetheless, the report maintains optimism that if humans were able to cut emissions, then temperatures would stop rising intensely. That too would take 1 or 2 decades and would only limit the impact of extreme weather events, that are about happen on this planet.
The IPCC report is clear and blunt and leaves no room for absurdity. However, it still encourages to act so that the climate crisis doesn’t get much worse. Secretary of IPCC, Abdallah Mokssit feared that achieving 1.5C seems impossible unless the world cuts greenhouse gas emissions on a large scale. The body mentioned that they can only suggest but cannot dictate any policy to the world leaders. It is up to the governments to make the decision.
After the blunt findings of the IPCC report, world leaders agreed that forcing new policies is an urgent matter to create a low-carbon economy. Reportedly, governments from 197 countries will meet in “Cop26” for climate talks with the UN in November. Each country is advised to come up with a proper climate plan under the Paris goal of 1.5C. UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres warned that this report was a code red for humanity. He called to end all new coal plants and fossil fuel activities and advised the governments and businesses to focus their efforts on low-carbon techniques.