Climate Armageddon is just around the corner, the United Nations said on Monday in its strongest warning yet about environmental destruction, but it is not too late to prevent it, the agency added.
“Humanity is on thin ice, and that ice is melting rapidly,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in remarks at the launch of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “Our world needs climate action on all fronts — everything, everywhere, all at once.”
The report, released Monday in Switzerland after a week of talks among delegates from 195 countries, also addressed climate justice.
“Without urgent, effective, and equitable mitigation and adaptation action, climate change increasingly threatens ecosystems, biodiversity, and the livelihoods, health, and well-being of current and future generations,” the report authors wrote.
In the last 50 years, global temperatures have risen at their highest rate in 2,000 years, Guterres noted.
“The climate time bomb is ticking,” he said, calling the report “a practical guide to defusing the climate time bomb” and a “survival guide for humanity.”
Guterres also called for achieving “net zero” emissions by 2040 and 2050 for rich and developing nations, respectively, about a decade earlier than previous calls. This is what it takes to limit global warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial temperatures by the early 2030s, according to the IPCC report.
Under the Paris climate agreement, countries committed to taking concrete steps to reduce pollution by 2035. Meeting that depends on cutting greenhouse gas emissions 60% below 2019 levels by 2035, said the IPCC. On the ground, that translates to a halt to exploration for new fossil fuels and the biggest consumers, the world’s richest countries, to stop using coal, oil and gas by 2040.
“Climate justice is crucial because those who have contributed the least to climate change are disproportionately affected,” said Aditi Mukherji, a water scientist and one of the report’s 93 authors. “Almost half of the world’s population lives in regions highly vulnerable to climate change. In the last decade, deaths from floods, droughts and storms were 15 times higher in highly vulnerable regions.
But humanity is heading in the wrong direction, experts said.
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“The pace and scale of what has been done so far and current plans are insufficient to address climate change,” said Hoesung Lee, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“We are walking when we should be running.”
with cable news services