According to a new report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world has a limited period to take action in terms of averting the most cataclysmic effects of global warming.
The report highlights that industrialized countries, by 2030, must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by half and achieve carbon neutrality by the early 2050s, to prevent the average global temperatures from increasing by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Exceeding the threshold point will increase the frequency of disastrous impacts such as the permanent loss of ice sheets, extinction of species, biodiversity loss, and rise of sea levels.
The final temperature of the earth will depend on the speed at which nations achieve "net zero". According to researchers, the planet may warm by 2.1 to 2.9 degrees Celsius this century if nations continue releasing heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere. Scientists are cautioning governments to abandon fossil fuels to prevent a catastrophic tomorrow. The speculation is that the intensity of vulnerabilities such as water scarcity, starvation, and heat waves will drastically get worse even with just half a degree rise. António Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations, is urging nations to halt the construction of new coal power plants and the approval of new oil and gas projects. "The 1.5-degree limit is achievable, but it will take a quantum leap in climate action," said Guterres.
The Group Most Vulnerable To Climate Change Impact
A key finding of the report includes an unfair scenario where the world's poor (least emission contributors) will be most impacted by climate change. In the last ten years (2010-20), death fatalities owing to natural calamities increased 15 times more in highly vulnerable regions where mostly indigenous populations reside.
Cutting down the emissions levels will aid in the protection of the vulnerable, says Patricia Romero-Lankao, a climate researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of Chicago. "We are not all in this together, the poorest and most marginalized communities are the most vulnerable, in all cities and all regions," said Romero-Lankao.
The main message from the report is that countries still have the remainder of the twenty-first century to change course. According to Piers Forster, the report makes it quite evident that we can still have a significant impact on the future. "It is up to humanity to determine what we end up with," said Forster.
The AR6 Synthesis Report serves as a comprehensive assessment of the most significant and recent climate change research. The IPCC issues assessment reports every six to seven years. AR6 Synthesis Report is the sixth assessment report, and the next report is anticipated to be released in 2030.
Official IPCC website— www.ipcc.ch