Global warming will cause unavoidable climate hazards and risk to ecosystem, warns IPCC report

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New Delhi: Global warming, reaching 1.5°C in the near-term, would cause unavoidable multiple climate hazards and present multiple risks to ecosystems and humans, warned the latest report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) , working group II (AR6) on Monday.

The report also cautioned that beyond 2040 and depending on the level of global warming, climate change will lead to numerous risks to natural, human systems including infrastructure and low-lying coastal settlements.

“This report is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC while releasing the report ‘Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’.

The report also suggested that the level of risk will depend on concurrent near-term trends in vulnerability, exposure, level of socioeconomic development and adaptation.

“It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our wellbeing and a healthy planet. Our actions today will shape how people adapt and nature responds to increasing climate risks,” Lee said during a virtual press conference.

In his address, United Nations Secretary General Antonnio Gueterres cautioned that global emissions are expected to increase by 14 per cent in the coming decade, which can have catastrophic consequences.

Talking about the bio diversity loss, due to global warming, the report said near-term warming and increased frequency, severity and duration of extreme events will place many terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems at high or very high risks of biodiversity loss.

It said continued and accelerating sea level rise will encroach on coastal settlements and infrastructure and commit low-lying coastal ecosystems to submergence.

“If trends in urbanisation in exposed areas continue, this will exacerbate the impacts, with more challenges where energy, water and other services are constrained” it said.

“The number of people at risk from climate change and associated loss of biodiversity will progressively increase.  Violent conflict and, separately, migration patterns, in the near-term will be driven by socio-economic conditions and governance more than by climate change” it added.

“In terrestrial ecosystems, 3 to 14% of species assessed, will likely face very high risk of extinction at global warming levels of 1.5°C, increasing up to 3 to 18% at 2°C, 3 to 29% at 3°C, 3 to 39% at 4°C, and 3 to 48% at 5°C.” report mentioned.

Talking about the impact of the global warming on food availability, the report said Climate change will increasingly put pressure on food production and access, especially in vulnerable regions, undermining food security and nutrition.

“Increases in frequency, intensity and severity of droughts, floods and heatwaves, and continued sea level rise will increase risks to food security (high confidence) in vulnerable regions from moderate to high between 1.5°C and 2°C global warming level, with no or low levels of adaptation (medium confidence).

“At 2°C or higher global warming level in the mid-term, food security risks due to climate change will be more severe, leading to malnutrition and micro-nutrient deficiencies, concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Central and South America and Small Islands” it said.

This is critically important UN report, authored by 270 scientists from 67 countries and approved by 195 governments, shows that worsening climate impacts are wreaking havoc in every part of the world and are affecting every living thing on the planet – humans, animals, plants, entire ecosystems.

The Working Group II report is the second instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed this year.

The summary for policymakers of the IPCC Working Group II report was approved on Sunday by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that was held over two weeks starting on February 14.

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