The United Nations has issued a climate change report that is a dire warning to countries around the globe. The report is being called a “code red for humanity,” with the UN insisting that action is needed immediately to curb the worst effects of runaway climate change. Recent incidents like the flooding in parts of Europe and raging Californian wildfires have brought fresh attention to the issue even as some countries and companies continue releasing greenhouse gasses at an alarming rate.
“Unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to 1.5°C will be beyond reach,” scientist Valérie Masson-Delmotte tells reporters. Many scientists in recent years have expressed extreme frustration with world leaders and companies due to their actions flying in the face of science. The science regarding climate change has been clear for thirty years, but there are still countries and organizations carrying on as though climate change doesn’t apply to them.
The UN report, called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, was reviewed by over 200 climate scientists before being submitted. The scientists pored over the data from over 14,000 distinct climate reports to get a clear picture of how the climate is changing, how quickly it’s changing, and what can be done about it.
“Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion—such as continued sea-level rise—are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years,” the IPCC report finds.
The rising sea levels and shrinking ice caps have led to concerns of serious ecological devastation in the decades to come. Even minute changes in the climate can have a huge impact on the world, with things like crop yields and arable land becoming more difficult to come by.
The report grimly points out that the climate is heating up faster than previously predicted. At present, we’ll be crossing the 1.5 Celsius mark in 2030, making it difficult to limit the runaway heating that has been observed all over the globe.
“The only way to limit global warming is net-zero CO2 emissions,” Masson-Delmotte tells reporters. “It’s all in our hands.” Without major, sweeping climate action taken in the next decade, the irreversible damage done to the climate could lead to a number of worst-case scenarios for the human race, ranging from food shortages to heatwaves and droughts that make some parts of the world unlivable.
Time is running out.