Nearly 200 countries on Sunday endorsed a major UN climate change report detailing the accelerating effects of global warming, at the end of a sometimes difficult two-week meeting overshadowed by the invasion of Ukraine by the Russia.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has confirmed that discussions are over on the report’s “Summary for Policymakers”, a 40-page overview distilling the thousands of pages of scientific research, which has been reviewed line by line and will be released on February 28.
Species extinction, ecosystem collapse, mosquito-borne diseases, deadly heat, water shortages and reduced crop yields are already significantly worse due to global warming.
In the past year alone, the world has seen an unprecedented cascade of floods, heat waves and wildfires across four continents.
All of these impacts will accelerate in coming decades even if the carbon pollution driving climate change is quickly brought under control, the report is expected to warn, according to an early draft seen by AFP in 2021.
It will also highlight the urgent need for “adaptation” – a term that refers to preparations for devastating consequences that can no longer be avoided.
In some cases, that means adapting to intolerably hot days, flash floods and storm surges has become a matter of life and death.
The 2015 Paris Agreement calls for capping global warming at “well below” 2°C, and ideally at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).
In August 2021, another IPCC report on the physical science of human-induced climate change found that global warming is virtually certain to exceed 1.5°C, likely within a decade.
The Earth’s surface has warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius since the 19th century.
“We cannot escape the climate crisis,” said Mohamed Adow, the head of think tank Power Shift Africa.
He said the IPCC report would be useful for people to understand “the magnitude of the suffering we will endure” if humanity does not drastically reduce greenhouse gas pollution – as well as to adapt to the challenges ahead.
“The backbone of climate action is science and the science is clear. It shows us how serious our situation is. What is missing is action by governments,” he said. at AFP.
© Agence France-Presse