Nearly 200 countries on Sunday approved a major UN report on climate change, detailing the mounting effects of global warming, at the end of an sometimes fraught two-week meeting overshadowed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed that debates have concluded on the report’s pivotal “Summary for Policymakers”, a 40-page summary distilling the thousands of pages of scientific research, reviewed line by line and will be made public. made on February 28.
Species extinction, ecosystem collapse, mosquito-borne diseases, deadly heat, water shortages and reduced crop yields are already measurably worse as a result of global warming.
In the past year alone, the world has seen a cascade of unprecedented flooding, heat waves and wildfires across four continents.
All of these effects will increase in the coming decades, even if the carbon pollution driving climate change is addressed quickly, the report is expected to warn, according to an early draft seen by AFP in 2021.
It will also underline the urgent need for “adjustment” – a term that refers to preparations for devastating consequences that can no longer be avoided.
In some cases, this means that adapting to unbearably hot days, flash floods and storm surges has become a matter of life and death.
The 2015 Paris deal calls for limiting global warming to “well below” 2C, and ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).
In August 2021, another IPCC report on the physical science of human-caused climate change found that global warming will almost certainly pass 1.5C, likely within a decade.
The Earth’s surface has warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius since the 19th century.
“We cannot escape the climate crisis,” said Mohamed Adow, head of think tank Power Shift Africa.
He said the IPCC report would be helpful for people to understand “the extent of the suffering we will endure” if humanity does not drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions — as well as adapt to the challenges ahead.
“The backbone of climate action is science and the science is clear. It tells us how dire our situation is. What is missing is action by governments,” he told AFP.