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HomeWORLDClimate change: Scientists issue ‘final warning': Humanity is on thin ice

Climate change: Scientists issue ‘final warning’: Humanity is on thin ice

Climate change: Scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have issued a final warning to the planet. Their latest assessment indicates that Earth is on the brink of irreversible damage to the climate.

The panel said that humanity still has one last chance to prevent the worst of climate change’s future harms.

“Humanity is on thin ice – and that ice is melting fast. Our world needs climate action on all fronts – everything, everywhere, all at once,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

Concentrations of carbon dioxide highest

Highlighting the role of human actions in the climate crisis, Guterres said that humans are responsible for virtually all global heating over the last 200 years. He added that the rate of temperature rise in the last half-century is the highest in 2,000 years, and the concentrations of carbon dioxide are at their highest in at least two million years. The climate time bomb is ticking.

He called for “no new coal” and also asked rich countries to eliminate its use by 2030 and poor countries by 2040. He urged carbon-free electricity generation in the developed world by 2035. This means no gas-fired power plants too.

The panel said that to stay under the warming limit set in Paris the world needs to cut 60% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.

“The choices and actions implemented in this decade will have impacts for thousands of years. Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health,” the report said.

With the world only a few tenths of a degree away from the globally accepted goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times, scientists stressed a sense of urgency. The goal was adopted as part of the 2015 Paris climate agreement and the world has already warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius.

‘Risks are starting to pile on’

After 1.5 degrees “the risks are starting to pile on,” said report co-author Francis X. Johnson, a climate, land, and policy scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute. He mentions “tipping points” around the temperature of species extinction, including coral reefs, irreversible melting of ice sheets, and sea level rise on the order of several meters (several yards).

“The window is closing if emissions are not reduced as quickly as possible,” Johnson said in an interview. “Scientists are rather alarmed.”

The IPCC in its report last year warned that countries are far from ready to face the consequences. The report said that human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world.

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