Weather extremes are occurring simultaneously in different parts of the World where millions of people are exposed to acute food and water insecurity, especially in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, on Small Islands and in the Arctic, scientists said in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.
Findings from a research document released earlier this week show the world faces unavoidable multiple climate hazards over the next two decades with global warming of 1.5°C (2.7°F).
Even temporarily exceeding this warming level will result in additional severe impacts, some of which will be irreversible. Risks for society will increase, including to infrastructure and low-lying coastal settlements, it said.
Despite recent progress in mitigating the impacts of climate change, scientists point out that climate change interacts with global trends such as unsustainable use of natural resources, growing urbanization, social inequalities, losses and damages from extreme events and a pandemic, jeopardizing future development.
To avoid mounting loss of life, biodiversity and infrastructure, ambitious, accelerated action is required to adapt to climate change, at the same time as making rapid, deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, it said.
While there are options to adapt to a changing climate, the new report provides new insights into nature’s potential not only to reduce climate risks but also to improve people’s lives in most affected parts of the World including the African continent.
“Healthy ecosystems are more resilient to climate change and provide life-critical services such as food and clean water”, said IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair Hans-Otto Pörtner. “By restoring degraded ecosystems and effectively and equitably conserving 30 to 50 per cent of Earth’s land, freshwater and ocean habitats, society can benefit from nature’s capacity to absorb and store carbon, and we can accelerate progress towards sustainable development, but adequate finance and political support are essential.”
Sea level rise
The report provides a detailed assessment of climate change impacts, risks and adaptation in cities, where more than half the world’s population lives. People’s health, lives and livelihoods, as well as property and critical infrastructure, including energy and transportation systems, are being increasingly adversely affected by hazards from heatwaves, storms, drought and flooding as well as slow-onset changes, including sea level rise.
The report clearly states Climate Resilient Development is already challenging at current warming levels. It will become more limited if global warming exceeds 1.5°C (2.7°F). In some regions it will be impossible if global warming exceeds 2°C (3.6°F).
This key finding, according to researchers underlines the urgency for climate action, focusing on equity and justice. Adequate funding, technology transfer, political commitment and partnership lead to more effective climate change adaptation and emissions. reductions.
Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future,” Hans-Otto Pörtner said. (End)