A lot has been written and stated in the media, but we would like to focus the readers of this blog on the following link. For the report summary, full contents and other information, please refer to: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/#SPM . Note: IPCC stands for “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”.
The conclusions are pretty straightforward, and to a large extent already known to many of us focusing on climate changes and required actions. Few quotes from the IPCC have been outlined below. Also worthwhile to read and study is the regional information, which can be explored in detail in the newly developed Interactive Atlas of IPCC (https://interactive-atlas.ipcc.ch/).
We sometimes read criticisms on the IPCC report in the media. Some state that the scenarios are too pessimistic, etc. We only have one simple response to this: “If the patient is ill, and the causes are not 100% known, all precautionary measures must be undertaken to ensure that the patient will continue to live, and that no unnecessary risks are taken”. Globally, the IPCC reports are regarded as leading; also because there must be international consensus before they are published.
The IPCC report will hopefully form the centre piece in the COP26 (UN Climate Change Conference) in Glasgow later this year; for details on the COP26, please refer to: https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/conferences/glasgow-climate-change-conference .
Some quotes from the IPCC, and they have been printed in “Italics”, in order not to lose the essence of the message provided:
- “Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion—such as continued sea level rise—are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years.”
- “However, strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change. While benefits for air quality would come quickly, it could take 20-30 years to see global temperatures stabilize.”
- Faster warming:
- “The report provides new estimates of the chances of crossing the global warming level of 1.5°C in the next decades, and finds that unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach.”
- “The report shows that emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are responsible for approximately 1.1°C of warming since 1850-1900, and finds that averaged over the next 20 years, global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming. This assessment is based on improved observational datasets to assess historical warming, as well progress in scientific understanding of the response of the climate system to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.”
- Every region facing increasing changes:
- “Many characteristics of climate change directly depend on the level of global warming, but what people experience is often very different to the global average. For example, warming over land is larger than the global average, and it is more than twice as high in the Arctic.”
- “The report projects that in the coming decades climate changes will increase in all regions. For 1.5°C of global warming, there will be increasing heat waves, longer warm seasons and shorter cold seasons. At 2°C of global warming, heat extremes would more often reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health, the report shows.”
- “But it is not just about temperature. Climate change is bringing multiple different changes in different regions – which will all increase with further warming. These include changes to wetness and dryness, to winds, snow and ice, coastal areas and oceans. For example:
- Climate change is intensifying the water cycle. This brings more intense rainfall and associated flooding, as well as more intense drought in many regions.
- Climate change is affecting rainfall patterns. In high latitudes, precipitation is likely to increase, while it is projected to decrease over large parts of the subtropics. Changes to monsoon precipitation are expected, which will vary by region.
- Coastal areas will see continued sea level rise throughout the 21st century, contributing to more frequent and severe coastal flooding in low-lying areas and coastal erosion. Extreme sea level events that previously occurred once in 100 years could happen every year by the end of this century.
- Further warming will amplify permafrost thawing, and the loss of seasonal snow cover, melting of glaciers and ice sheets, and loss of summer Arctic sea ice.
- For cities, some aspects of climate change may be amplified, including heat (since urban areas are usually warmer than their surroundings), flooding from heavy precipitation events and sea level rise in coastal cities.”
- Human influence on the past and future climate:
- “The report also shows that human actions still have the potential to determine the future course of climate. The evidence is clear that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main driver of climate change, even as other greenhouse gases and air pollutants also affect the climate.”
- “Stabilizing the climate will require strong, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and reaching net zero CO2 emissions. Limiting other greenhouse gases and air pollutants, especially methane, could have benefits both for health and the climate,” according to the IPCC report.