The world’s leading climate experts have delivered their starkest warning yet about the deepening climate emergency, with some of the changes already set in motion thought to be “irreversible” for centuries to come.
An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s 2022 report cautioned that even if efforts to curb global warming are being stepped up, the worse is to come, faster than expected.
The IPCC is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change which was set up in 1988 by the WMO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Amongst other things, IPCC provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, options for reducing the emissions causing it, and how we might adapt to a warmer world.
The 2022 report published end of February cautions that any further delay in global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss the closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.
The report comes at a time when a nuclear war is looming in Europe. Political leaders who advocated for global action on adaptation and mitigation have now shifted their attention to the armed conflict.
United States’ President – Joe Biden’s 2022 budget proposal as reported by Financial Times includes more than $36 billion to fight global climate change, an increase of more than $14 billion compared with 2021.With focus now on the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where some commentators predict use of nuclear weapons, nothing has been mentioned about his climate agenda.
The latest IPCC report highlights that extreme weather conditions, including heat waves, droughts and floods, are occurring simultaneously, exposing millions to food and water insecurity. In Botswana’s many parts; the rains last fell months ago and the heat has choked vegetation, including crops in the fields and grazing lands.
“Ambitious, accelerated action is required to adapt to climate change, in addition to rapidly cutting greenhouse gas emissions. There are increasing gaps between action taken and what is needed to deal with the rising climate risks, with the largest gaps among lower-income populations,” states the report.
The report; Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC said is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction. It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to human wellbeing and a healthy planet.
“Our actions today will shape how people adapt and nature responds to increasing climate risk,” added Lee.
The IPCC report explores future impacts at different levels of warming and the resulting risk and offers options to strengthen natures and society’s resilience to ongoing climate change, to fight hunger, poverty, and inequality.
“Healthy ecosystems are more resilient to climate change and provide life-critical services such as food and clean water. By restoring degraded ecosystems and effectively and equitably conserving 30 to 50 per cent of Earth’s land, freshwater and ocean habitats, society can benefit from nature’s capacity to absorb and store carbon, and we can accelerate progress towards sustainable development, but adequate finance and political support are essential,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair.
Climate resilient development is already challenging at current warming levels, and will be impossible in some regions if global warming exceeds 2°C. The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report states that adequate funding, technology transfer, political commitment and partnership will lead to effective climate change adaptation and emissions reductions.
“The scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human wellbeing and the health of the planet. Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a livable future,” emphasized Hans-Otto Pörtner.