UN warns of ‘rapidly closing’ window to avert global warming
A report from the United Nations climate change panel doubles down on calls for action to combat planetary warming amid a “rapidly closing window” in a new report released Monday.
The latest report from the intergovernmental panel on climate change is a “synthesis” of three recent reports which said that climate change was “unequivocally” caused by humans, that it will increase premature deaths and other poor health outcomes and that a “substantial reduction” in global fossil fuel use is needed to combat the problem.
Similar to these other reports, the latest iteration notes that the planet has already warmed about 1.1 degrees Celsius (about 2 degrees Fahrenheit) and that under the current status quo it is on track to exceed 1.5 Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) of warming — a temperature gain that scientists have said should be avoided to avert some of the most serious climate change consequences.
“Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health,” a summary of the report states. “There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.”
It details risks including increase in heat-related death and illness, diseases coming from food, water and insects and flooding in coastal areas, and reiterates the call for “minimal” use of fossil fuels where emissions are not captured or otherwise mitigated, as well as forest conservation and restoration.
U.N. Secretary General António Guterres on Monday called for leaders of developed countries to commit to reaching net-zero emissions “as possible to 2040” — 10 years ahead of President Biden’s 2050 goal.
Guterres also called for a general phase down of oil and gas production and for developed countries to phase out coal by 2030, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.
“The climate time bomb is ticking,” he said. “But today’s IPCC report is a how-to guide to defuse the climate time bomb. It is a survival guide for humanity.”
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