New UN Climate Report Signals ‘Code Red for Humanity'

Climate changes are likely intensifying and irreversible.

Tech & Gadgets
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A new report released on Monday by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates that unprecedented changes in the Earth’s climate are intensifying and likely irreversible. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres described the report’s findings as a “code red for humanity”and called for urgent action.

“Scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system,” the report states. “Many of the changes observed in the 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.”

The wide-reaching report linked observable climate phenomena, including increased rainfall and flooding, sea level rise, permafrost thawing, changes to the ocean and heatwaves, to the Earth’s changing climate and human influence. According to the report, greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are responsible for about 1.1 degrees Celsius of global warming since 1850 to 1900, and that over the next 20 years, the temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming — a critical point where increasing heat waves, longer warm seasons and shorter cold seasons will become the norm.

Once the Earth reaches an increase of 2 degrees Celsius, extreme heat would likely reach “critical tolerance thresholds” for humans and agriculture, the report predicts, adding that unless there are “immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” we may not be able to mitigate the already-observable effects of climate change.

“It has been clear for decades that the Earth’s climate is changing, and the role of human influence on the climate system is undisputed,” said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte. “This report is a reality check.”

Masson-Delmotte said that despite the grim projections, the report does provide insight on the crucial steps that humans need to take to determine the Earth’s future climate.

“Stabilizing the climate will require strong, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and reaching net zero CO2 emissions. Limiting other greenhouse gases and air pollutants, especially methane, could have benefits both for health and the climate,” said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Panmao Zhai.

Intensifying weather can be observed across the world, including wildfires across Southern Europe that are currently threatening historic world sites. In addition, the U.N. recently recognized a new record high temperature for Antarctica of 18.3 degrees Celsius (64.9 degrees Fahrenheit), a troubling sign for the coldest area in the world.

For more climate information, check out Google Earth’s 4D timelapse feature that allows people to see how the planet has changed over the past few decades. NASA also revealed that 2020 was the hottest year on record — learn more about that here.

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