Human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions around the world, despite efforts to reduce the risks, scientists warned in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released on Monday. This report is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction, said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC while releasing the report Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability'.
It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our wellbeing and a healthy planet. Our actions today will shape how people adapt and nature responds to increasing climate risks, Lee said during a virtual press conference.
The world faces unavoidable multiple climate hazards over the next two decades with global warming of 1.5 C, the report said, adding that even temporarily exceeding this warming level will result in additional severe impacts, some of which will be irreversible. Risks for society will increase, including to infrastructure and low-lying coastal settlements, scientists said in the report.
In his address, United Nations Secretary General Antonnio Gueterres cautioned that global emissions are expected to increase by 14 per cent in the coming decade, which can have catastrophic consequences.
This critically important UN report, authored by 270 scientists from 67 countries and approved by 195 governments, shows that worsening climate impacts are wreaking havoc in every part of the world and are affecting every living thing on the planet humans, animals, plants, entire ecosystems. The Working Group II report is the second instalment of the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed this year.
The report sounded a strong warning that much bolder action is needed immediately to cut greenhouse gas emissions as well as to adapt to the increasing climate impacts and protect the most vulnerable.
Increased heatwaves, droughts and floods are already exceeding plants' and animals' tolerance thresholds, driving mass mortalities in species such as trees and corals.
These weather extremes are occurring simultaneously, causing cascading impacts that are increasingly difficult to manage. They have exposed millions of people to acute food and water insecurity, especially in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, on small islands and in the Arctic, the report said.
The summary for policymakers of the IPCC Working Group II report was approved on Sunday by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that was held over two weeks starting on February 14.
Scientists point out that climate change interacts with global trends such as unsustainable use of natural resources, growing urbanization, social inequalities, losses and damages from extreme events and a pandemic, jeopardizing future development.
Healthy ecosystems are more resilient to climate change and provide life-critical services such as food and clean water, said IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair Hans-Otto P rtner.
By restoring degraded ecosystems and effectively and equitably conserving 30 to 50 per cent of Earth's land, freshwater and ocean habitats, the society can benefit from nature's capacity to absorb and store carbon, and we can accelerate progress towards sustainable development, but adequate finance and political support are essential, he said.