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Climate change widespread, rapid, and intensifying – IPCC
A week ago, the IPCC released a report that provides an update on the physical science basis of climate change and confirms that there is no going back from some changes that are already affecting the Earth's system. The report confirms that annual temperatures now are warmer than they have been in the last 100 thousand years. The recent changes are not only unprecedented, but also widespread, rapid, and intensifying. They are affecting every region of the world, including oceans, and the changes will increase with further warming. The report states that human activities are causing climate change, thus making heatwaves, heavy rainfalls and droughts more frequent and severe. “The report shows that greenhouse gas emissions 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.”
Although there is no going back from changes in the climate system, the changes can be slowed or stopped by limiting warming. There is an urgency for strong and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to be able to limit global warming to 1.5°C. “The report also shows that human actions still have the potential to determine the future course of climate.”
Our future is in our hands. We have the power to fight climate change.
Heatwave Scorches Mediterranean in Latest Sign of Climate Change Impacts
Over the last few weeks the Mediterranean has not only been affected by severe wildfires, but is now also experiencing heatwaves. A new heat record of 48.8°C has been recorded in continental Europe in the Italian island of Sicily. Although temperatures this time of year tend to be high, this new record has authorities concerned and asking its citizens to take precautions.
This heatwave comes only days after the release of the new IPCC report, which states that the last decade was most likely the hottest in the last 125,000 years and that temperatures are expected to continue to increase if global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. As stated by climate scientists, heatwaves are expected to become more frequent and intense across the world and the most vulnerable will be the most affected by the impacts of climate change.
Recent climate consequences clearly show that action is needed to address the impacts of global warming and limit temperature rise to 1.5°C.
A Hotter Future Is Certain, Climate Panel Warns. But How Hot Is Up to Us.
As stated by the IPCC report, there is still a short window to slow and prevent the worst impacts of climate change. “This summer alone, blistering heatwaves have killed hundreds of people in the United States and Canada, floods have devastated Germany and China, and wildfires have raged out of control in Siberia, Turkey and Greece.”
Unfortunately, this is just the beginning according to the report. Scientists have found that a 1.5°C warming could affect 1 billion people with life-threatening heatwaves, hundreds of millions more will struggle for water as a result of severe droughts, and animals and plant species will suffer more frequent lass die-offs.
However, it is not too late. Humanity can still prevent temperature rise through immediate and ambitious greenhouse gas reductions. “Doing so would require a coordinated effort among countries to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by around 2050, which would entail a rapid shift away from fossil fuels starting immediately, as well as potentially removing vast amounts of carbon from the air.”
This recent report will be a focal point for COP26 discussions as nations come together to discuss climate change and set up their efforts to reduce emissions.