The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just published a new report on global heating, which announced that greenhouse gas emissions must be cut in half to limit heating to 1.5 Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The report offers us the first major review of the science of climate change since 2013 and warns humanity of increasingly extreme heatwaves, wildfires, devastating droughts, floods, and a key temperature limit being broken in just over ten years.
Here are the key points
A summary of the key points of the IPCC report is as follows:
- The global surface temperature was 1.09 Celsius higher in the decade between 2011-2020 than between 1850-1900.
- The past five years have reached the hottest temperatures since 1850.
- The rate of sea-level rise has almost tripled in comparison with 1901-1971.
- Human influence is “very likely” (90 percent) the driving force of the global retreat of glaciers since the 1990s and the decrease in Arctic sea ice.
- It is “virtually certain” that extreme temperatures in the form of heatwaves have become more frequent and intense since the 1950s, while cold events have become more scarce and less severe.
The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called the report “a code red for humanity,” and declared that even in the most favorable circumstances, some changes are already unavoidable, such as sea-level rise.
Catastrophe can be avoided
The good news is that scientists say that we still have time to avoid total catastrophe, but we must act quickly.
“If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, as today’s report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses,” adds Guterres.
So, as individuals we must continue to do what’s right for our planet, to influence others to try their best to reduce their carbon footprints by eating less meat or eradicating meat and animal byproducts from their diets completely, becoming sustainable consumers, and by demanding that our world’s businesses and governments lead the green movement.
Here at The Optimist Daily, we will continue to do our part by offering you and the rest of our readers uplifting news and practical tips that will help pull the world and environment out of this mess and into the prosperous and harmonious future we believe we can achieve, together.