Hundreds of top scientists released a devastating report Monday on the danger that human-caused climate change poses to the world’s people. Calling it “code red for humanity,” the landmark report was released in Geneva, Switzerland, by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
According to the report, many of the changes seen in the world’s climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion – such as continued sea-level rise – are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years.
Wild weather events – from storms to heatwaves – are also expected to worsen and become more frequent. “Climate change is already affecting every region on Earth, in multiple ways, (and) the changes we experience will increase with additional warming,” said Panama Zhai of the IP.
The evidence is clear that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary driver of climate change, even as other greenhouse gases and air pollutants affect the climate. The 3,000-page report “provides an unprecedented degree of clarity about the future of our planet, and the need to reduce – and ultimately eliminate – our emissions of greenhouse gases,” said Zeke Hausfather of the Breakthrough Institute.
The authoritative report, which calls climate change clearly human-caused and “unequivocal,” makes more precise and warmer forecasts for the 21st century than it did last time it was issued in 2013. “If this IPCC report doesn’t shock you into action, it should,” said Helen Mountford of the World Resources Institute. “The report paints a very sobering picture of the unforgiving, unimaginable world we have in store if our addiction to burning fossil fuels and destroying forests continues. One of the most striking takeaways is that we may reach 1.5°C of warming a decade earlier than the IPCC had previously found.”
In this file photo dated Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, a man watches as wildfires approach Kochyli beach near Limni village on the island of Evia, about 100 miles north of Athens, Greece. A new massive United Nations science report was released on Monday, Aug. 9, 2021, reporting on the impact of global warming due to humans.
Almost 200 countries have signed up to the Paris climate accord, which aims to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), ideally no more than 1.5 degrees C (2.7 F), by the end of the century pre-industrial times.
The report projects that in the coming decade’s climate changes will increase in all regions. For 1.5°C of global warming, there will be increased heat waves, longer warm seasons, and shorter cold seasons. At 2°C of global warming, the report shows that heat extremes would more often reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health.
“Scientists have predicted the likelihood of accelerating climate change for more than a century now – yet too often their warnings have been disregarded,” said Katharine Hayhoe, chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy. “My hope is that the rigor, transparency, and unprecedented urgency of this latest IPCC report will make it simply impossible to ignore.”
While many of the report’s predictions paint a grim picture of humans’ impact on the planet and the consequences that will have going forward, the IPCC also found that so-called tipping points, like catastrophic ice sheet collapses, are “low likelihood.” However, they cannot be ruled out. The report comes months before a major climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: IPCC climate change report released.