UN code-reds Climate Change, says global warming reaches tipping point

“The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.”

The above remark was made by the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, as reacted to the latest report on climate change by the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) that was published on Monday,

Mr Guaterres said the threats climate change has on global warming as contained in the 3,949 paged report is “a code red for humanity.”

The IPCC, which is a United Nation climate panel has warned that global warming, “caused largely by man”, is worsening and the apparent overwhelming climatic changes could be “irreversible” for centuries to come.

The IPCC warned that “strong and sustained” decreases in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change.

The 195 member states approved the report on Friday after reviewing the report which relies on scientific basis of climate change, and how humans are changing the planet.

The 3,949-page report is said to the first batch of four that was released under the IPCC’s current assessment cycle. The panel is expected to release the subsequent editions scheduled for publication next year.

The UN body said the first published report also known as IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report(AR6) “is aimed towards providing world leaders with a first-class standard summation of modern climate science ahead of the forthcoming Conference of the Parties (COP26) in early November.”

Hoesung Lee, who chairs the IPCC said the report “reflects extraordinary efforts under exceptional circumstances”.

“The innovations in this report, and advances in climate science that it reflects, provide an invaluable input into climate negotiations and decision-making,” said Mr Lee

On the significant findigs in the report scientists pointed out that many of the recent changes detected in the climate were “unprecedented” and that some of the changes such as continued sea-level rise are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years.

The Panel also underscored that “limiting global warming to close to 1.5 degrees Celsius or even 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels “will be beyond reach” in the next two decades without immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions”.

And that the 1.5 degrees Celsius level is a crucial global target and that beyond this level, “tipping points”, which are the irreversible change in the climate system locking in further global heating, are like going to set in.

However, the report further stated that “at 2 degrees Celsius of global warming, the report noted that heat extremes would often reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health”.

The report blamed the emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities as mainly responsible for about “1.1 degrees Celsius of warming since 1850-1900”, even as it also finds that “averaged over the next 20 years, global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming”.

The IPCC however espoused that a “strong and sustained reduction of carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change. And by so doing many benefits like “improved air quality” would be achieved quickly, even though it could take two to three to stabilize global temperatures.

The report said the new threat is that different regions of the world would experience different changes which would even bring about further global heating.

“These changes include more intense rainfall and associated flooding, more intense drought in many regions, coastal areas to see continued sea-level rise throughout the 21st century, the amplification of permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, among many others,” the report noted.

Countries who signed the “Paris Agreement” are under pressure to deliver on promises made ahead of COP26 which looks at a future of zero depended on fossil fuel; but there are no signs yet that the world is making any noticeable shift from dependence on fossil fuels.

The Humanitarian Times has observed how states in Nigeria, especially in the northern region as still in to harmful practices like tree felling and related deforestation as means of livelihood.

The IPCC groups

The IPCC is a UN body of 195 member states that assesses the science related to the climate crisis and was founded in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization so as to provide world leaders with periodic updates about the scale of the climate emergency, its implications, and risks and to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies.

It comprises three working groups: Working Group I, II, and III. The Working Group I deal with the physical science basis of climate change.

This is the group that presented its contribution to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report(AR6) on Monday, while the Working Group II deals with impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability and Working Group III assesses the mitigation of climate change

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