According to a United Nations report on Climate Change, people are undoubtedly to blame for global climate change – as massive greenhouse gas cuts are urgently needed if the world wants to avoid catastrophic warming. The report’s findings have been endorsed by 195 governments around the world.
On the Greek island of Evia, residents fled their homes under a scorching sky as fires turned the forests into ashes from the scorching summer temperatures.
This is just one of hundreds of large fires burning in Greece, Turkey and Italy – as summer temperatures reached 45 degrees Celsius. Message from scientists: Climate change has arrived.
“The Mediterranean will have these forest fires all the time. So I mean, this is just the beginning. “It will get much worse.” says Levent Kurnaz, a climate scientist at Bogazici University.
Extreme heat and drought have caused fires from the Mediterranean to Siberia to California.
The report, compiled by 200 scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says temperatures have already risen by 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The deputy secretary general of the commission described the findings as a “red code for humanity”.
“Each of the last four decades has been the hottest recorded since pre-industrial times. Moreover, it is indisputable that human activities are causing climate change. “Human impact is creating extreme climatic events, including heat waves, heavy rainfall and drought, making them more frequent and more catastrophic.” says Ko Barrett.
According to the report global average temperatures will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2030, the limit agreed at the Paris climate summit in 2015 and seen as a turning point by many scientists. This limit is ten years earlier than previous forecasts.
The report says sea level rise of up to two meters by the end of the century cannot be ruled out – threatening millions of people living in coastal areas.
And the Arctic is likely to experience at least one ice-free summer by 2050.
But scientists point out that there is a way out. Worse scenarios can be prevented – and global warming can be reversed – by drastic cuts in global emissions.
“These are not just small changes we can make; but which imply major changes in the way energy is used and consumed. Carbon dioxide is the key element we need to reduce to reach zero emissions by the middle of the century. “But we also know that methane is an important gas that needs to be reduced, as it has probably caused up to half the degrees (Celsius) of heat we have seen so far.” says Bill Collins, co-author of the report.
With the United States re-entering the Paris climate deal, scientists hope there will be an increased effort as world leaders gather in November for the COP26 global climate summit in Britain.
President Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry said Monday that “All major economies must commit to aggressive climate action during this critical decade.”
“This report is currently being accepted by 195 governments around the world. “So we are ensuring that they make the right political decisions.” says Bill Collins.
These decisions will determine whether mankind can avoid catastrophic climate change.
The impact of climate change is already being felt in many parts of the world.