In the aftermath of an unprecedented summer of heatwaves, wildfires, and flooding, as well as the death and misery that accompany them, the world’s greatest climate scientists have issued their most dire warning yet. Humanity’s influence on the climate is “unambiguous,” the research says, before listing a litany of climate problems that would deteriorate exponentially if we do nothing.
“The fact that the IPCC has concluded, with the support of all 195 member countries, that human activity is causing climate change is the strongest statement the IPCC has ever made,” Ko Barrett, the IPCC’s deputy chair, said during a press conference.
Additionally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released Monday, written by 234 authors, emphasizes it is now or never for the world’s greatest hope of averting even more heinous consequences of climate change—while demonstrating that every ton of carbon pollution and every tenth of a degree matter.
The report comes at a critical time just months before a climate meeting in Glasgow that aims to put pressure on countries to increase their commitments under the Paris Agreement.
At the moment, the world is on track to exceed the agreement’s target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), let alone the more ambitious goal of curbing emissions to meet the 1.5-degree Celsius (2.7-degree Fahrenheit) target.
Big Oil—the primary cause of the climate crisis—has done all possible to sway those negotiations. The latest IPCC report emphasizes the importance of countries improving their pledges and ignoring agents of delay. “While it is still possible to avoid many of the most dire consequences, it will require unprecedented transformational change—rapid and immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” Barrett said.
The climate catastrophe is having an influence on every part of the globe. No location is safe, and the consequences will continue to intensify until society takes action.
Carbon sequestration is our only hope for life and survival.
By midcentury, the globe would have exceeded the Paris Agreement’s temperature targets. Global warming would accelerate and the world would reach 7.9 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius) by the end of the century.
That would bring in a world unrecognizable to those of us who live today: the ecosystem would deteriorate, large sections of the earth would become uninhabitable, and heat waves that occur once every 50 years in today’s climate would become commonplace. Those heatwaves would be 9.5 degrees Fahrenheit (5.3 degrees Celsius) hotter.
If the world meets the Paris Agreement targets, particularly the 1.5-degree target, the globe would almost certainly get hotter and more deadly. For example, fifty-year heat waves would be around 8.5 times more common and 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) hotter. Although not ideal, it is tolerable. Significantly more than the alternative.
To accomplish that goal, a reorganization of society on a scale unprecedented in human history will be required.