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28th Feb 2022

Explainer: The UN sent out a “dire warning” for climate action – what does this mean?

The latest report is here.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has put out a warning that they have described as “dire” regarding the consequences of no action being taken to combat climate change.

Chairman Hoesung Lee said today that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to people’s well-being and a healthy planet and added that half of the previous measures are no longer an option.

The IPCC found in its latest report that despite major efforts to reduce the risk, climate change is now causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature, and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world.

The report found that the world now faces unavoidable multiple climate hazards in the next 20 years as the heat of the planet is expected to rise by 1.5C.

Even if the globe only temporarily exceeds this level, it will have severe impacts and some of these will be irreversible.

The earth will see increased heatwaves, droughts and floods, some of which are already occurring, and it will have an impact on the mortality of many of our plant life.

The report also noted that these extreme weather events are happening at the same time and are becoming difficult to manage and have already had an impact on people in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, on Small Islands and in the Arctic.

If these are to be avoided, the IPCC said that ambitious accelerated action to adapt to climate change is needed now, at the same time as making rapid and deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

It also states that the prospects for Climate Resilient Development will be limited if global warming exceeds 1.5C and will become impossible in some regions if warming exceeds 2C.

The authors said that if there is any further delay in global climate action, the window to secure a liveable future will begin to close.

The report calls for degraded ecosystems to be restored, and for 30-50% of the earth’s land, freshwater and ocean habitats, to be effectively and equitably conserved as a way for society to benefit from nature’s capacity to absorb and store carbon.

For this to happen, financial and political support for climate action are essential.

Calling for governments, the private sector, and civil society to work together to prioritise climate change, the report also is looking for equity and justice, in decision-making and investment.

The report also said that cities are hotspots for climate impacts, with people’s health and livelihoods being impacted by adverse weather conditions, including the rising sea levels.

Cities are also said to be part of the solution as they provide opportunities for climate action through green buildings, reliable supplies of clean water and renewable energy which can lead to a more inclusive, fairer society.