Climate change report: “rapid, far-reaching, unprecedented” changes needed

Climate change report
© iStock/Mario_Hoppmann

A special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has detailed the drastic scope of climate change and urged governments to work to reduce the rate of global warming.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, which was approved by the IPCC on Saturday, made the case for what it called “rapid, far-reaching” change to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by the mid-2000s. In addition to benefiting both humans and ecosystems, the report showed how stronger action on climate change could promote a more equitable society.

“With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.

The report, prepared by authors and editors from 40 countries in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, examined the current and potential future consequences of global warming of 1 and 1.5°C; and warned of dire consequences if governments do not take swift and drastic action.

As extreme weather conditions become more common and sea levels rise, flooding and wildfires represent an increased risk worldwide. Meanwhile agriculture and fishing could also be negatively affected by warming at the current rate.

Many countries have already implemented policies and legislation to minimise climate change, but the report makes it clear that much more needs to be done – not just by governments, but also by businesses, transport, housing and energy; as well as individual consumers.

“This report gives policymakers and practitioners the information they need to make decisions that tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs. The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

Global Warming of 1.5°C is the first in a series of Special Reports by the IPCC, which will look at global climate issues such as ocean warming, sustainable development and worldwide attempts to eradicate poverty.

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