UN Climate Change Welcomes IPCC’s Report for Policy Makers

The Working Group I contribution to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment report confirms that it is indisputable that human influence has warmed the climate system, raising global surface temperature. The report provides an update on the physical science basis of climate change and confirms that there is no going back from some changes that are already affecting the climate system.

Recent changes in the climate are widespread, rapid and intensifying and impacts are affecting every region on Earth, including the oceans. Many weather and climate extremes such as heatwaves, heavy rainfall, droughts and tropical cyclones have become more frequent and severe. The report provides an atlas of regional observed and future impacts, which will allow policy makers and all other stakeholders to better inform climate policies at the regional and local levels.

The report identifies that the level of future emissions will determine the level of future temperature rise and the severity of future climate change and the associated impacts and risks. Not only have CO2 concentrations increased in the Earth’s atmosphere, but the rate of the increase has also sped up. The report shows that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are responsible for approximately 1.1°C of warming since 1850-1900, and finds that averaged over the next 20 years, global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming.

Unless there are rapid, sustained and large-scale reductions of climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2, methane and others, the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C compared to pre-industrial levels, as enshrined in the Paris Agreement, will be beyond reach.

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