The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body that regularly assesses the science related to climate change, including its impacts and future risks and options for adapting or mitigating it. At the end of March 2023, IPCC released its sixth Synthesis Report, asking for urgent action.
The temperature increased by 1.1°C from the pre-industrial level
From 2011 to 2020, the global surface temperature reached 1.1°C above 1850-1900. It was principally caused by increased greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. The human-caused climate change and global warming are already affecting every region worldwide, leading to adverse and extreme weather conditions damaging people and nature.
“Climate justice is crucial because those who have contributed least to climate change are being disproportionately affected. Almost half of the world’s population lives in regions that are highly vulnerable to climate change. In the last decade, deaths from floods, droughts, and storms were 15 times higher in highly vulnerable regions”, said Aditi Mukherji, one of the authors of the Synthesis Report.
Some adaptation implementation projects progressed across all regions and sectors, but there are remarkable gaps that are supposed to grow. The current financial flows are insufficient, especially in developing countries. Mitigation policies and laws expanded, but rapid and massive actions are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They should be decreased by almost half by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5°C as desired.
“If we act now, we can still secure a livable, sustainable future for all”
“Mainstreaming effective and equitable climate action will not only reduce losses and damages for nature and people, it will also provide wider benefits. This Synthesis Report underscores the urgency of taking more ambitious action and shows that, if we act now, we can still secure a livable, sustainable future for all”, said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee.
The report outlined that the 1.5°C limit can still be achieved. A sharp reduction of emissions would cause a discernible slowdown in global warming in approximately two decades and considerable changes in atmospheric composition within a few years.
Adaptation is the keyword. Some focused actions should be adopted to reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions. The adaptation options which are feasible and effective today may not work if global warming increases.
According to the authors, there is sufficient global capital to reduce greenhouse gas emissions rapidly. Still, the existing barriers should be removed, and public funding and private investments should be increased. Moreover, they stated that the economic benefits relative to human health obtained by improving only the air quality would equal or even exceed the costs to reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions.