The most comprehensive, cutting edge climate change report in years has been delivered by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and its contents are objectively terrifying.
According to the IPCC, the extreme weather associated with climate change is guaranteed to become far worse in coming decades, even if humanity acts quickly to curb the carbon emissions that are contributing to rising global temperatures (which cause higher sea levels, drought, intense wildfires, extreme rainfall and flooding and other catastrophic events such as we are already seeing around the world.)
The report, backed by hundreds of the world's leading scientists and described as a "code red" for humanity by UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, unequivocally finds that human activity has contributed to climate change with irreversible effects. Since the mid-1800s, the planet has warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius, due to increased carbon dioxide being pumped into the earth's atmosphere post-industrialization.
The horrors don't end there. Warming will continue, no matter what we do, for the next 30 years, even in a best case scenario where world leaders unite to reduce emissions to zero very quickly.
But the good news — and there is good news — is that if this scenario plays out within the next decade, we can cap the increase at around 1.5 degrees Celsius. (That's actually the target outlined by the Paris Agreement, which is meant to be achieved by 2040 — a deadline which, according to this report, comes far too late. It's also fairly irrelevant, as few of the countries who signed the agreement have acted upon it.)
If global emissions are cut back to net zero within about 10 years, which will admittedly require geopolitical consensus such as the world has literally never seen, the planet will essentially stop warming by 2050. In less optimistic circumstances, where world leaders continue to essentially ignore climate change, the world will warm by three to six degrees Celsius by 2100, and much of the planet will become uninhabitable.
Read more of the report here.
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