Climate Change: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented a worrying report

Climate Change: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented a worrying report

“There is no doubt that human impact has warmed the atmosphere, oceans and land masses. There have been far-reaching and rapid changes in the atmosphere, oceans, cryosphere and biosphere.”

so she starts Summary for Policy Makers Part I of the IPCC’s Sixth Status Report (“Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”). Though the status report was eagerly awaited, it didn’t have any good news or pleasant surprises to announce. Instead, the statement: Global warming is proceeding faster than feared.

And he describes that many of the climate changes observed so far have not occurred on Earth for hundreds of thousands of years. Furthermore, some changes, such as the progressive rise in sea level over hundreds to thousands of years, are irreversible. Climate change is currently proceeding uncontrollably: the extreme weather events of recent months and years such as floods, heavy rains, heat waves, fires and droughts therefore await us only in a world that is warmer and warmer. is happening. next few years. Sonia Seneviratne, climate scientist and co-author of the IPCC report, says:

“Especially when I look at our results on climate extremes, I would say: We are in a climate crisis.”

Only a rapid, widespread and permanent reduction in greenhouse gases could make it possible for mankind to limit its own global warming to 1.5 °C, or at least two °C. With current development, however, the Earth will warm by 1.5 °C by the year 2030, compared to the pre-industrial era from 1850 to 1900.

The report can also be interpreted as a warning: it shows what will happen to the Earth if mankind does not stop global warming by reducing and stopping its greenhouse gas emissions.

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The World Climate Report serves as the scientific basis for climate policy around the world.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) develops scientific assessments of climate change for the United Nations, which is also involved with proposals for action. To this end, he summarizes the current scientific conditions and findings: first in an extremely comprehensive report consisting of several hundred pages, as well as in brief summaries of individual chapters, “Summaries for Decision Makers”. The fifth and by far the most recent assessment report was published in 2013/2014. It is considered an essential basis for the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

The current first part of the Sixth Situation Report describes the physical theories of climate change, the current state of the global climate, and possible future climate scenarios. Over the past two weeks, the summary, which is of great importance to political decision-makers, has been discussed word-by-word by the country’s delegations and finally adopted. This part of the IPCC report will be crucial for the next UN climate summit COP 26, which is scheduled to take place in Glasgow, Scotland, in November. The next parts of the Sixth Status Report are due to appear in 2022.

Climate change: the world is about 1.1 degrees Celsius warmer than in the 19th century

But what picture does the current World Climate Report paint about climate change caused by our world and humanity? For climate researcher Fortunat Jos of the University of Bern it is clear: “The report is a milestone in climatology, carefully and comprehensively documenting rapid extreme weather events and climate change in water and ice, on land and in the air. does. observation.”

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The IPCC report shows that human-made greenhouse gas emissions have caused global warming of about 1.1 °C between 1850 and 1900. This 1.1 already appears to be coming closer to the 1.5°C target of the Paris climate treaty. “The new report also highlights that land areas have already warmed 1.6 degrees on average, well above the rise in sea temperature (0.9 degrees). This aspect is an undoubted fingerprint of man-made climate change in particular. And therefore a strong reminder that changes can be felt most strongly where we humans live,” says Karsten Hausten of Climate Services Center Germany.

One of the effects of this global warming is already irreversible today, for example rising sea levels or melting glaciers. According to the IPCC report, even if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, sea levels will initially continue to rise – up to one meter by 2100.

Climate change makes extreme weather more extreme

Compared to the last World Climate Report from seven years ago, there is a separate chapter on the topic of extreme weather for the first time: “For the first time we have evidence that extreme events have changed around the world and that climate change is a cause of these changes in many respects.” The cause – and heat waves are the major cause”, says climate researcher Friederick Otto of the University of Oxford, who contributed to a related chapter: “The extremes of heat in particular will increase significantly in all regions of the world. The same so-called connected extremes.” applies, for example to heat and drought occurring at the same time.”

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Rapid and comprehensive reduction of greenhouse gases is necessary to achieve climate goals

Furthermore, according to this World Climate Report, it would be impossible to limit global warming due to climate change to 1.5 °C or 2 °C if global greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced quickly and comprehensively.

Of course, none of this is really surprising. The fundamental link between climate change and what drives it – namely our greenhouse gas emissions – has long been clear. “Essentially, the report confirms statements made in previous reports. It shows that science correctly predicted the main development 30 years ago,” said Mojib Latif of the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research in Kiel. “If you put all the statements in the report together, I would interpret them as follows: Mankind is about to leave the climate comfort zone that it has been able to enjoy for the past millennia.”


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