New Delhi: Limiting global warming to “well below 2°C”, by 2030, as per the Paris Agreement targets, will be hard to achieve, but avoiding 1.5°C is still possible said, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Synthesis 6th Assessment Report (AR6) on Monday.
The world is on course to overshoot the 1.5°C global warming threshold, which will lead to irreversible harm and risks for human and natural climate systems said the report
It also laid out the economic imperative for taking action, finding that the “global economic benefit of limiting global warming to 2°C exceeds the cost of mitigation in most of the assessed literature”.
The Synthesis Report (SYR) is the culmination of a cycle of reports (the Sixth Assessment) that have been published over the past five years.
Since the Fifth Assessment Report cycle, which ended in 2014, there has been an intensified focus around the globe on the climate crisis and efforts to mitigate its impacts, with the annual Conference of the Parties (COP) meetings driving this progress.
The UN-backed global scientific body, said average temperatures had already touched 1.1 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial times, and the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold was “more likely than not” to be reached in the “near term” itself.
Monday’s Synthesis Report, a summary of the five earlier reports released between 2018 and 2022, marks the culmination of IPCC’s sixth assessment cycle that began in 2015.
These include three parts of the main sixth assessment report, one special report on the feasibility of keeping temperature rise within 1.5 degree Celsius, and another one on the connections between oceans and cryosphere.
It said the world had emitted about 2,400 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide between 1850 and 2019, of which a little over 1,000 billion tonnes, or about 42 per cent, had been emitted after 1990.
In order to have a 50 per cent chance of keeping warming below 1.5 degree Celsius, the world must not emit more than 500 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent after 2020, the report said. Incidentally, current annual emissions in 2019 amounted to 59 billion tonnes. That means that the 500 billion tonnes carbon budget would be exhausted in less than ten years.
The Synthesis Report also highlighted the fact that climate impacts were “unequally distributed” with the poor and disadvantaged being the most vulnerable.
The report said Approximately 3.3–3.6 billion people live in contexts that are highly vulnerable to climate change.
“Human and ecosystem vulnerabilities are interdependent. Regions and people with considerable development constraints have high vulnerability to climatic hazards” it said.
“Between 2010 and 2020, human mortality from floods, droughts and storms was 15 times higher
in highly vulnerable regions, compared to regions with very low vulnerability” said the report.
Climate change has caused substantial damages, and increasingly irreversible losses, in terrestrial,
freshwater, cryospheric, and coastal and open ocean ecosystems.
Calling the impact of climate change is “irreversibility” the report said hundreds of local losses of
species have been driven by increases in the magnitude of heat extremes with mass mortality events recorded on land and in the ocean.
“Impacts on some ecosystems are approaching
is irreversibility such as the impacts of hydrological changes resulting from the retreat of glaciers, or the changes in some mountains and Arctic ecosystems driven by permafrost thaw ” it said.
Releasing the report IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee, said that This Synthesis Report underscores the urgency of taking more ambitious action & shows that, if we act now, we can still secure a liveable sustainable future for all.”
He added that the Synthesis Report “underscores the urgency of taking more ambitious action”.
Raising concerns UN secretary General Antonio Guterres said, “Humanity is on thin ice – and that ice is melting fast,”
He said that it details how humans are responsible for virtually all global heating over the last 200 years.
“The climate time bomb is ticking. But today’s IPCC report is a how-to guide to defuse the climate time bomb,” he said.
Loss and damage refers to the negative consequences of climate change on human societies and the natural environment.
Climate justice is crucial because those who have contributed the least to climate change are being disproportionately affected,” says Aditi Mukherji, one of the Synthesis Report’s authors.
On the adaptation, the report said Despite progress, adaptation gaps exist, and will
continue to grow at current rates of implementation.
“Current global financial flows for adaptation are insufficient for, and constrain implementation of,
adaptation options, especially in developing countries” it said.
Policies and laws addressing mitigation have consistently expanded since AR5. Global GHG emissions in 2030 implied by nationally determined contributions (NDCs) announced by October 2021 make it likely that warming will exceed 1.5°C during the 21st century and make it harder to limit warming below 2°C.
“There are gaps between projected emissions from implemented policies and those from NDCs and finance flows fall short of the levels needed to meet climate goals across all sectors and regions, said the report .
The report further emphasized that Finance, technology and international cooperation are critical enablers for accelerated climate action.
” If climate goals are to be achieved, both adaptation and mitigation financing would need to increase many-fold. There is sufficient global capital to close the global investment gaps but there are barriers to redirect capital to climate action”…adding that enhancing technology innovation systems is key to accelerate the widespread adoption of technologies and practices”.