On August 9th, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announced a new report warning the public that we are at our final warning in taking climate action.
In the report, it is said that between 2021 and 2040, global temperatures will rise by “1.5 degrees” compared to pre-industrial levels.
Compared to the 2018 report, the increase of 1.5 degrees would be between now and 2052, but this new report predicts the time frame to be 10 years earlier. It can be assumed that we are moving much faster than we anticipated. This 1.5°C is a major threshold for global climate and the future.
In this article, I will explain the temperature rise report released by the IPCC on the 9th. So, please read to the end.
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What is IPCC
Before we go into the important details, it is important to understand what IPCC is and why we need to care about this newly released report.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the body within the United Nations that assesses the science related to climate change. It was established in 1988 and has 195 countries involved. The organization is a combination of the United Nations Environment Programme and The World Meteorological Organization.
Their responsibilities include providing data and information to policymakers regarding the science of climate change, the implications, potential risks, and possible solutions and mitigation measures. However, they do not conduct the research themselves, instead, they have thousands of scientists review research and data. Based on the given information, provide an assessment report that is transparent and open.
The IPCC prepares comprehensive Assessment Reports about the state of scientific, technical, and socio-economic knowledge on climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for reducing the rate at which climate change is taking place.
– IPCC About Page
Now that we know what IPCC is, it is important to remember that their report is meant to help policymakers and the public know what is happening with our planet and what are some things we need to look out for. It is written and reviewed by a long list of scientists from all over the world.
Why You Should Trust IPCC’s Report
The IPCC is written by a long list of scientists, specifically 234 scientists from all over the world. All scientists are selected based on their experience and expertise.
In addition, the report is also approved by the 195 countries that are involved. While governmental involvement might be a bit hard to trust, but at the same time, the report is written so that it is hard for policymakers to say no. It is written in a specific way to make sure policymakers will take action.
In addition, the report has a strict and thorough process and gets reviewed thousands of times to assure the data is accurate and unbiased.
The Importance of 1.5 Degrees Celsius
You must be wondering what is this 1.5°C that all the report is about? Why is this 1.5°C is important?
The 1.5°C Goal is a goal that was proposed during the Paris Agreement back in 2015.
The goal was to contain and limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C preferably compared to the pre-industrial levels. Where countries all set their goals to reduce carbon emission and make an effort to slow down global warming.
Earth’s Report Card – Running out of Time
Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C.
In the 2018 report, it was projected that the temperature was expected to rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 and 2052 years.
However, the most recent assessment report reveals that is no longer the case. Instead, the timeline has significantly moved forward 10 years. Based on the data, it is obvious to say that global warming is accelerating.
The most recent report announced with a very stern tone that we are running out of options and time in taking action for the environment.
In fact, for the first time in history, the report states with certainty that humans are the cause of global warming and climate change.
The Global Temperature (Celsius) Data from IPCC
In addition, the recent report goes into detail about comparing the difference when the global temperature rises above 1.5°C vs. 2°C.
“Climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5°C and increase further with 2°C.” – IPCC
Of course, the report warns that the frequency and severity of extreme weather are only going to increase if we don’t change.
Here is the summary of the IPCC report.
Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are responsible for approximately 1.1°C of warming since 1850-1900.
— IPCC (@IPCC_CH) August 13, 2021
5 scenarios of rising temperatures
The report asserts that there is no doubt that human activity is contributing to global warming. Human development of industry, use of resources, and emission of CO2 will cause the temperature to rise.
Conversely, we can change the projection of temperature rise depending on our efforts.
The IPCC has proposed 5 scenarios of temperature rise that can be changed depending on human efforts.
- The Worst Scenario: rely on fossil fuels and produce the most greenhouse gas emissions
- The second highest greenhouse gas emissions
- With intermediate greenhouse gas emissions
- The lowest greenhouse gas emissions
- A scenario with a shift to sustainable development and very low greenhouse gas emissions
According to the above scenarios, even the “very low emissions scenario,” which sets greenhouse gas emissions to practically zero around 2050, predicts a temperature increase of 1.4 degrees Celsius between 2081 and 2100.
Furthermore, under the “very high emissions scenario,” in which humanity continues to rely on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions double by 2050, the temperature is expected to rise by 4.4 degrees Celsius.
However, if we can achieve the “very low emissions scenario,” the temperature rise may exceed 1.5°C, but there is hope that it could be kept below 1.5°C by the end of this century. It will be up to us to see if we can keep the temperature rise under control.
Zero CO2 emissions limits “Extreme” Natural Disasters
Limiting temperature rise will also reduce the risk of “extreme” natural disasters. To achieve this, it is important to reduce CO2 emissions to virtually zero.
According to the IPCC report, each increase in the global average temperature increases the risk of extremely high temperatures, such as heatwaves, extremely heavy rainfall, droughts that damage agriculture, and the occurrence and progression of sea-level rise.
As many of us have seen on the news or even experienced this year, we are seeing significantly more heatwaves, wildfires, heavy rains, and floods.
In fact, the news about the extreme heatwave in Canada, which caused the temperature to rise to 49.6 degrees Celsius. There have been many reports of sudden deaths due to the effects of heatwaves, and rising temperatures are a life-threatening situation for humans. In addition, there’s an increase of wildfires around the world.
In order to reduce the damage caused by such natural disasters, it has become essential to work towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions to practically zero.
Now is the time for each and every one of us to take action
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is up to all of us to do our part to reduce the rise in temperature and halt global warming. It is up to each and every one of us who live on this planet to protect it.
Why don’t we review our daily choices in order to prevent more “extreme” natural disasters and protect our beautiful planet?
There are so many ways we can do so, whether it is a small step or a big one, it is important that we are doing it for ourselves and our planet.
I hope you find this article helpful! If you are interested in more eco-friendly lifestyle tips, please free to browse through our articles.
IPCC, 2018: Summary for Policymakers. In: Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, H.-O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J.B.R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M.I. Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor, and T. Waterfield (eds.)]. World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 32 pp.