The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has labeled the global climate change crisis Code Red. It is irreversible, inevitable, and unprecedented. World leaders say:
- “We can’t wait to tackle the Climate Crisis. The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. And the cost of inaction keeps mounting.”—President Joe Biden, United States of America
- “Nobody’s safe and it’s getting worse faster. We must treat climate change as an immediate threat.”—Inger Andersen, United Nations Environment Programme
- “Confirms what we already know…, that we are in an emergency…. We can still avoid the worst consequences, but not if we continue like today, and not without treating the crisis like a crisis.”—Climate Activist Greta Thunberg, on the IPCC Report, July 9, 2021.
- “Humans are to blame for climate change, we must strive for harmony with nature, [which means we should] not fight nature and our planet. We are on the brink of a man-made disaster, [and] the time to act is now.”—Harmony Liu, Youth Climate Change Ambassador, World Harmony Foundation, on the IPCC Report, August 9, 2021.
The IPCC, the United Nations climate science body, released its assessment on August 9 in which it finds that the 1.5°C warming target will indeed be breached without “immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.” With the sober milestone of scientific assessment, the IPCC declares that the rate of warming in the last 2,000 years has been unprecedented and unequivocal, and furthermore, that human influence has made the world hotter. It went as far as saying that the human influence on the climate system is clear.
This is the first time that a group of influential scientists has said in uncertain terms that climate change is already impacting every inhabited region on the planet. In part, this is due to advances in attribution science, which assesses human influence on weather.
Climate Chief Alok Sharma called the report a “wake-up call for the world…that revealed the deficiency of our response to date.” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “The IPCC report couldn’t be clearer: humans are causing potentially catastrophic climate change. The world must act together at COP26 to avoid incalculable damage in the future.” We are facing fires, droughts, floods, and hurricanes. The report states in the strongest terms that mankind is responsible for 1.1°C of global warming since 1850. The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the sober findings of the report as a “Code Red for humanity.”
In the 2015 Paris Agreement, governments agreed that the world must limit global warming by 2°C or preferably to 1.5°C. Every area of the world is severely impacted by climate change, and the agreed upon 1.5°C limit above pre-industrial levels will indeed be met, causing more extreme weather events globally. Some transformations are already locked into our systems, including sea level rise. The good news is that if the world did, in fact, achieve net zero by 2050, there would be a significant chance that we will stabilize below 1.5°C.
The IPCC investigated five scenarios based on how much carbon dioxide the globe emits and how we can compensate. The world will hit 1.5° degrees by 2031. Numerous nations have pledged to attain net zero by 2050, namely by reducing emissions and offsetting the rest. Bue, we need concrete policies to cut carbon emissions, transform our food systems, phase out fossil fuels, and give aid to countries that are severely impacted by the climate change crisis.
Great care must be taken because 2°C warming would most likely breach extreme heat thresholds for agriculture and health. Carbon removal could have the effect of reversing some of the increase in global temperatures. UK Labor Leader Sir Keir Starmer put it most succinctly when he said that “…the biggest threat we now face is not climate denial, but climate delay.”
— Ugoji A. Eze, Esq., PPC Member, Earth and Environment Task Force