According to the UN’s newest assessment, many of the effects of global warming are now “irreversible.”
However, according to the authors of a recent analysis, there is still a small window of opportunity to avert the worst-case scenario.
Humans and environment are being pushed beyond their ability to adapt, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
However, if the temperature change is kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the estimated losses will be reduced.
This latest UN research, released just four months after COP26, where world leaders vowed to swift action on climate change, demonstrates the enormity of their challenge.
“Our report clearly suggests that places where people live and work may vanish, that ecosystems and species that we’ve all grown up with and that are essential to our cultures and inform our languages may vanish,” said IPCC co-chair Prof Debra Roberts.
“As a result, this is a critical juncture. If we are going to turn things around, this is the decade of action, according to our report.”
This is the second of three reports from the IPCC, the world’s top body of climate scientists.
The first instalment, released in August, underlined the magnitude of human impact on the climate system.
Climate change’s sources, effects, and solutions are examined in this new report. It provides the clearest picture yet of how a warmer world affects all living species on the planet.
The report provides a sobering depiction of the world’s already dire repercussions, such as an increase in the number of people dying from heat.
However, the authors claim that there is still a small window of opportunity to avoid the worst-case scenario.
“One of the things that I think is very, really apparent in the study is that yeah, things are bad, but the future depends on us, not the environment,” said Dr Helen Adams of King’s College, London, who was a main author on the report.
The analysis demonstrates that extreme weather events connected to climate change, such as floods and heat waves, are wreaking havoc on humans and other species far more severely than past estimates suggested.
According to the latest study, these effects are already outpacing many people’s ability to cope.
While everyone is touched, some people are hit particularly hard. This result is very dependent on where you live.
Floods, droughts, and storms killed 15 times more people in particularly vulnerable countries like Africa, South Asia, and Central and South America between 2010 and 2020 than in other parts of the world.
Rising temperatures are bleaching and killing coral reefs, while dryness is killing many trees.
The paper emphasises the growing repercussions that are projected as global temperatures climb from 1.1 degrees Celsius to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Coastal towns will be increasingly threatened by rising sea levels, which will lead to “submergence and loss.”
In the next few decades, the IPCC estimates that a billion extra people will be at risk from coastal-specific climate hazards under all emission scenarios.
According to the analysis, if temperatures climb between 1.7 and 1.8 degrees Celsius above the level of the 1850s, half of the human population will be exposed to periods of life-threatening climatic conditions caused by heat and humidity.