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Reality check: UN climate change report drives home need for urgent action

Reality check: UN climate chan...
The new IPCC report states that over the next 20 years, human-caused climate change will result in a drastic increase in both droughts and flooding
The new IPCC report states that over the next 20 years, human-caused climate change will result in a drastic increase in both droughts and flooding
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The new IPCC report states that over the next 20 years, human-caused climate change will result in a drastic increase in both droughts and flooding
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The new IPCC report states that over the next 20 years, human-caused climate change will result in a drastic increase in both droughts and flooding

According to a new report issued by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), human-caused climate change will have dire consequences over the next 20 years. And while some of the damage could be mitigated, it will take a lot of work.

Released this Monday (Aug. 9), the "Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis" report was compiled by a total of 234 authors from 66 countries, all members of the IPCC's Working Group I. The report is the first installment of the IPCC's larger Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which is due for completion next year.

Citing over 14,000 references from studies conducted by member scientists, the report states that since 1850-1900, emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities caused an average global temperature rise of 1.1 ºC (1.98 °F). That trend is predicted to continue over the next 20 years, resulting in a total increase of at least 1.5 ºC (2.7 °F) since the pre-industrial era.

While temperatures will rise all over the planet, the change will be more pronounced over land areas. It will be particularly acute in the Arctic, where the average temperature increase is predicted to be more than twice the global average.

As a result, the present thawing of the Arctic permafrost will be amplified, glaciers and ice sheets will melt, plus sea ice may completely disappear during the summer months. The problems won't just be confined to the Arctic, however.

This report is a reality check. We now have a much clearer picture of the past, present and future climate, which is essential for understanding where we are headed, what can be done, and how we can prepare."
IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte

It is predicted that rainfall will increase at higher latitudes – causing floods, mudslides and other natural disasters – while some regions will experience more severe droughts. The ocean will likewise experience an increase in marine heatwaves – along with the associated acidification and reduced oxygen levels – while low-lying coastal areas will be subject to more flooding and erosion. The report states, "Extreme sea level events that previously occurred once in 100 years could happen every year by the end of this century."

There is some hope, however. If human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are drastically reduced, the effect on air quality should be quickly apparent. That said, even if significant measures are taken now, it could still take 20 to 30 years for global temperatures to stabilize. In fact, it may take hundreds or even thousands of years for sea levels to cease rising.

"This report is a reality check," says IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte. "We now have a much clearer picture of the past, present and future climate, which is essential for understanding where we are headed, what can be done, and how we can prepare."

Source: IPCC

9 comments
9 comments
piperTom
The IPCC's worst-case pathway projects that humanity will, among other things, be burning about five times more coal and annually emitting three times more greenhouse gases than we do today. Such an implausible scenario must be for emotional effect. Another pathway projects that humanity will annually emit more than double the amounts of greenhouses gases being emitted currently. Did they just focus on China?
All this reinforces the view recently published in "Issues in Science and Technology" titled "How Climate Scenarios Lost Touch With Reality".
Bob809
Okay, so, climate change driven by humanity... it's not happening. What is happening is a global warming period that has been building up since the ice age began to get warmer, otherwise, why did the ice melt, it wasn't us was it. All this clap-trap about human caused climate change is rubbish. I used to believe it myself, joining an early group to 'save the world' called ARK in the early 80's. Sting and others were involved quite a bit in that one. Since then, I learned to do my own research. Not going to go through all that here, but, someone I know has a fossilised Lion. It was found during construction in London. So you know what that means. It was in the soil, fossilised, a Lion! That meant at the time of its existance, living in London, it was clearly as hot as Africa, but where London is now. According to mainstream science, we were not around 'polluting the atmoshpere' way back then. Explain that one. Also, why do so-called climate scientists not take into account the Sun and its effects on Earth? Someone told me the Sun is rather warm. By the way, don't confused with the ice age and fossils, very different era's.
bwana4swahili
Climate change and COVID-19 are in the news so much that people are simply bored with the hype and ignoring the continued bombardment of apocalypse predictions. They have more important daily considerations such as health, welfare, housing, family, etc.

Besides no one without a post-graduate degree could wade through the IPCC report and get anything useful out of it!!
1stClassOPP
I don’t buy into the dire predictions either. Sure the climate is changing, has there ever been a time when it hasn’t? The reasons man is contributing to the co2 , and greenhouse gases is because it was and is necessary to maintain the lifestyle we’ve adopted. Do you really want to go back to the days in, for example, my family immigrated from the Netherlands, we had no hydro, no running water, not even a septic waste system? No, we need to embrace what’s happening, prepare for worst case scenarios, and carry on with what we find every day. Stop all the fear mongering, and buck up.!
Nelson Hyde Chick
There is no reversing climate change as long as humanity is allowed to swell by billions more.
Chuck
You need to understand the science to figure out what is true and what isn’t. Once you have a handle on that you’ll know who is giving you the straight story. The last people you should trust are politicians and fossil fuel representatives. They have a vested interest in keeping you in the dark.
Malcolm Jacks
Did you know in the late 1500s Isaac Newton predicted that the world will end in 2060? If we don't do something drastic now, we may prove him right. I heard the arctic ice melting is exposing large areas, and even melting the permafrost. do you think that the best thing to do is start planting trees to compensate for the release of co2.???
moreover
Predicably, climate change articles prompt a slew of denier comments with long discarded talking points – because they know better that every single one of the world’s academies of science and the top scientists in various climate related fields? Actually, all one has to understand here is that climate doesn’t change willy nilly but that it changes due to physical ‘forcings’. The magnitude and direction of these forcings is well understood today, and only man-made CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels explains the data. Even simpler: If you add teratons of a climate gas on top of the natural carbon cycle it must get hotter. You can’t get around the laws of physics.
ReservoirPup
It's amazing how many people get stuck in not believing in climate predictions instead of focusing on environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity and mountains and seas of rubbish growing and spreading! I have myopic eyes, but many around have myopic minds.