Explanation – What does the latest UN science say about climate change
(Reuters) – At COP27 in Egypt, delegates have at their disposal decades of research into the warming pathways published by the United Nations Climate Science Agency to benefit from their decisions.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases reports approximately every five years that represent a global scientific consensus on climate change, its causes and impact. Last year’s report examined the main drivers of global warming and the basic elements of climate science.
This was followed by two major reports this year – one in February on how the world will need to adapt to climate impacts, from rising seas to dwindling wildlife, and another in April on ways to mitigate global warming emissions.
Here are some points learned from those reports:
Humans are not to blame at all
* Last year’s report on the physical basis of climate change unequivocally blamed humans for rising temperatures.
– She also said that climate change is dangerously close to getting out of control.
* Previously rare weather extremes are becoming more common, and some areas are more vulnerable than others.
* For the first time, the authors of the report called for urgent action to limit the spread of methane. So far, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has focused on carbon dioxide, the most abundant greenhouse gas.
* With time running out to prevent runaway climate change, the authors said it is worth considering the advantages and disadvantages of geoengineering, or large-scale interventions, such as injecting particles into the atmosphere to block solar radiation.
* The report said the world’s countries, including the wealthiest, need to start preparing for the effects of climate and adapting to a warmer world.
An urgent need to adapt to heat waves, storms and sea level change
* News of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine overshadowed the release of an important report in February on how the world should prepare for a warmer world.
* With climate change already causing extreme weather around the world, the report urged rich and poor countries alike to adapt now to the effects including more frequent heat waves, powerful storms and rising sea levels.
* The report explained that different regions face different risks, and presented local forecasts of what to expect.
* Millions of people face poverty and food insecurity in the coming years, as climate change affects crops and water supplies and threatens to disrupt trade and labor markets.
* The chilling prospects of the world’s poor have reignited calls for a “loss and damage” fund through which rich countries can offset the costs to poor countries of climate-related disasters.
After a breakthrough at the start of this year’s Climate Summit, the issue of loss and damage for the first time became part of the official agenda of UN talks.
“Now or Never”, Single Action Matters
*One of the report’s co-chairs said in publishing findings showing that only sharp cuts in emissions in the next few decades will prevent global warming from spiraling out of control “it’s ‘now or never’.”
* The report explores how different emissions scenarios will translate to higher temperatures in the future.
* Cities are a big part of the emissions problem, she said, but they are also a source of hope and positive solutions.
* The transition of energy to renewable sources and clean fuels is proceeding very slowly.
* The report went beyond focusing on fossil fuels and industrialization to urge strong climate action in agriculture, where farming methods and better forest protection can reduce emissions.
* He warned that climate change threatens economic growth, and for the first time highlighted the need to act at the individual level, calling on governments to agree on policies to change consumer and transport habits to encourage less waste.
(Reporting by Gloria Dickey; Editing by Katie Daigle, Deepa Babington and Barbara Lewis)
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