Life Science New UN report lays bare reality of human-caused climate change

New UN report lays bare reality of human-caused climate change

A UN report will raise the spectre of more fires, drought and floods if global warming continues. Photo: AP
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A new UN report will set out a stark message on the state of the climate crisis, raising pressure on governments meeting for the crucial Cop26 talks in November.

The report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) due to be published on Monday is the first part of a review of current scientific knowledge about how the world is warming due to human activity.

It is the first such global assessment since 2013, when scientists found that global warming was “unequivocal” and human influence on the climate was clear, with the majority of warming since the 1950s extremely likely to be down to human activity.

The message in the latest report is expected to be even stronger, with warnings of how soon global temperatures could rise 1.5 Celsius above pre-industrial levels – a limit that countries have pledged to try to avoid breaching because of the dangerous consequences for humanity.

A summary report is being published after being approved in a process involving scientists and representatives of 195 governments that has taken place online over the past two weeks.

That means governments have signed off on the findings – and pressure will be on them to take more action at the talks known as Cop26, which are being held in Glasgow in November.

The report comes as global temperatures have climbed to 1.2 Celsius above pre-industrial levels and increasingly extreme weather – from record heatwaves and wildfires to downpours and devastating flooding – hits countries around the world.

UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa has warned that many countries have not brought forward new action plans for cutting their emissions – a key part of what they need to do before the Cop26 climate summit – and those that have are not doing enough.

Ahead of the publication of the new IPCC assessment, Richard Black, senior associate at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit said: “Coming just before Cop26, this report is a massive wake-up call to all those governments that have not yet put forward realistic plans to cut emissions over the next decade.

“It will show that choices made now have a big effect on our future – leading to a runaway world of wild weather impacts and incalculable risks at one end, and at the other a future where climate change is constrained within manageable bounds.”


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