The threat that climate change poses to human well-being and the health of the planet is “unequivocal,” says the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The expansive review—which forms the second part of the IPCC’s sixth assessment report (AR6)—warns that any further delay in global action to slow climate change and adapt to its impacts “will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.”
The report, “Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability,” follows publication of the first part of AR6, released in August last year, which set out the physical science basis of how and why the Earth’s climate is changing.
Over the two weeks before the report was released on Feb. 28, government delegations had been meeting in an online approval session to agree on the high-level “summary for policymakers” section.
The final report is published against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which forced some members of the Ukrainian delegation to pull out of the approval session and sequester in bomb shelters on Feb. 25. The head of the delegation, Svitlana Krakovska, pledged when back online that “we will not surrender in Ukraine and we hope the world will not surrender in building a climate resilient future.” The head of the Russian delegation, Oleg Anisimov, actually responded: “Let me present an apology on behalf of all Russians not able to prevent this conflict.”
From Carbon Brief, Feb. 28
IPCC: ‘now or never’ to stop climate disaster
The third and final part of the IPCC’s sixth assessment report (AR6), “Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change,” warns that “rapid and deep” cuts to greenhouse gas emissions are needed to stay at or below the targeted 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming. Without strengthening climate policies, greenhouse gas emissions are projected to lead to a median global warming of about 3.2 degrees Celsius by 2100.
“It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F),” said IPCC Working Group III co-chair Jim Skea in a statement. “Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.”
“The jury has reached the verdict, and it is damning,” Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres said in a press conference. “This report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a litany of broken climate promises. It is a file of shame, cataloging the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world. We are on a fast-track to climate disaster.”
The 2015 Paris Agreement sets a 2 C rise within the current century as a maximum, but urges countries to work toward a 1.5 C rise. (Smithsonian)
50% chance of Earth hitting climate threshold in five years
The world is creeping closer to the warming threshold international agreements are trying to prevent, with nearly a 50-50 chance that Earth will at least temporarily hit that mark within the next five years, a team of meteorologists across the globe predicted.
With human-made climate change continuing, there’s a 48% chance that the globe will reach a yearly average of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels of the late 1800s at least once between now and 2026, a bright red signal in climate change negotiations and science, a team of 11 different forecast centers predicted for the World Meteorological Organization. (PBS)
Climate scientists study possibility of ‘human extinction’
Catastrophic climate change outcomes, including human extinction, are not being taken seriously enough by scientists, a new study says. The authors say that the consequences of more extreme warming are “dangerously underexplored.” The researchers found that estimates of the impacts of a temperature rise of 3C over pre-industrial levels are under-represented given it’s likelihood.
The study, entitled “Climate Endgame,” appears Aug. 1 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
“I think it’s sane risk management to think about the plausible worst-case scenarios and we do it when it comes to every other situation, we should definitely do when it comes to the fate of the planet and species,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Luke Kemp of the University of Cambridge. (BBC News)