Scientists warn that unless greenhouse gas emissions are drastically reduced, humanity’s ability to combat climate change will worsen.
Climate change caused by people is happening all over the world and is becoming a bigger threat to people’s health and well-being as well as to ecosystems, societies, and businesses. According to a major scientific report released by the United Nations’ main climate science organization on Monday, the effects are not the same and hurt those who are least able to deal with them. They are also happening faster than we can adapt.
At a press conference to introduce the report, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said, “I’ve seen a lot of scientific reports, but nothing like this.”The IPCC report released today is a map of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.”
“This report shows that climate change is bad for everyone on the planet.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the UN approved the report on Feb. 27. It is called “Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.” In August, a report on the science of climate change made it clear that people have warmed the planet and that the world is already starting to feel the effects that can’t be changed.
Working Group II of the IPCC put together the latest report, which is based on more than 34,000 references and shows how the Earth’s climate system, human society, and the natural world are all linked.
It focuses on the effects that climate change has already had, pointing out the risks to biodiversity, human health, and access to land and water. It also shows how social problems like inequality, injustice, pollution, and the destruction of habitats will make these risks worse, especially for the poor and vulnerable.
Humans can reduce these risks and adjust to a warming world, and in many places they already are, but we need to move faster.
Mark Howden, a climate scientist at Australian National University and vice chair of the IPCC’s Working Group II, said, “When we look at the evidence, it becomes clearer that the rate of adaptation around the world is not fast enough to keep up with the rate of climate change.”
Changes in the climate will have Climate change is having an effect on every part of the world in some way.
Extreme weather events are happening more often and getting worse, which hurts both nature and people in many ways. These effects are felt most by vulnerable people, like those who live on small islands, where temperatures are rising and tropical cyclones, storm surges, and sea-level rise are happening more often.
Losses and damage are already being felt in places like Africa, which has contributed the least to global greenhouse gas emissions. The report talks about how climate change affects biodiversity, agricultural productivity, and the amount of water that is available.
People are also becoming more aware of how climate change affects mental health. The report shows that increasing heat and weather-related stress, extreme weather events, and the loss of jobs and ways of life are hurting people all over the world. As the world gets warmer, these effects are likely to get worse.
Professor of environment, climate, and global health at the University of Melbourne in Australia, Kathryn Bowen, stated that “rapid adjustments are needed to ensure we expand in a way that is robust to climate change and sustainable.”
This implies that everyone has access to primary medical care, which includes mental health treatment.
How to adjust to a world that is warming
The main message of the latest report is still the same: we need to act quickly and decisively to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, which are the main cause of rising temperatures on Earth. If you don’t do these things, you won’t be able to change.
It is undeniable that the earth is warming up. Even if we cut emissions a lot, the Working Group I report from August says there’s almost a 50/50 chance that the world will warm by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius before 2050. These kinds of increases will make it harder for us to change in the future and will continue to widen the gap between the rich and the poor.
The new report says that reducing emissions and making it easier for people to adapt must be done at the same time if we want to reduce the risks that come with climate change in the coming decades.
The primary author of the report’s chapter on Australia and New Zealand, Lauren Rickards, a social scientist at RMIT University in Melbourne, stated, “What we need is a new generation of clear-eyed, forward-thinking, ambitious, intelligent, and fit-for-purpose adaptation.” Every “community, organization, industry, and group” needs to evolve in this way, according to Rickards.
But there is reason to be hopeful
Johanna Nalau, a climate adaptation scientist at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, and the lead author of the report’s Small Islands chapter, said, “We’ve made a lot of progress.” “There are 170 countries that have already started to plan for adaptation.”
Instead of reacting to extreme weather events like wildfires and floods after they happen, governments and communities should look to long-term planning, like that outlined by the US Environmental Protection Agency in its Climate Resilience toolkit, to ensure a stronger response before climate disasters strike.
And it’s not just scientific information that helps people adapt. The report talks about how important it is to learn from indigenous and local knowledge, to include and highlight the voices of marginalized groups, and incorporate social transformation into this to lessen the hazards associated with climate change.
The end of the round
In 1988, the UN Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization set up the IPCC to study what causes climate change and what effects it has. It is made up of thousands of experts who look at the scientific, social, and economic aspects of the climate crisis by looking at research and studies on climate change. Its last big evaluation report, AR5, came out in 2014.
A new report is made about every six to seven years. AR6, or the Sixth Assessment Report, is in the middle of its current cycle, which will end later this year.
The IPCC has put out three special reports this cycle that look at different parts of the climate crisis. The first one, which came out in 2018, looked at how to stop global warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius. In 2019, two more reports looked at how climate change affects the land, the oceans, and the cryosphere (the frozen parts of Earth).
Working Group I’s report “Climate Change: The Physical Science Basis,” which came out last August, was called a “reality check.” It explained how climate change is making extreme weather events like heat waves, droughts, and floods happen more often.
Working Group III is looking at the next IPCC report, which is about how to slow down climate change. It is likely to come out in April. All of the research from the AR6 cycle will be put together in a final synthesis report that will be released in September. This report will include the analysis of all three working groups and three special reports.
The book will come out right before COP27, a big conference in Egypt about climate change.