Written by: Georgia Carter
Unparalleled heat waves in Arizona. Impossible snowfalls in Texas. Uncontrollable wildfires across Europe. Flooding in Germany and China.
These are but a few examples of the weather catastrophes sprawling around the globe. The primary cause? Global Warming.
Caption: Uncontrollable fires are raging across the planet due to global warming.
Credit: Matt Palmer, Unsplash
There’s no denying it any longer. Rising temperatures and increased sea levels are starting to cause chaos on the planet - and this is only the beginning. In light of these natural disasters, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, known as the IPCC, recently released their most current report on the matter. It’s the bluntest, most stark warning we have received yet.
“The evidence is everywhere: if we don’t act, the situation is going to get really bad,” climatologist and co-author Xuebin Zhang says.
Founded in 1988, the IPCC is a United Nations governmental body that consists of leaders, scientists, and climatologists from around the globe. The aim of this conglomerate is simple: provide truthful scientific evidence and information that proves human-induced climate change and global warming, the impacts of this destruction, and the potential responses we must take in order to mitigate the negative effects.
Caption: Individuals, businesses, and scientists are pleading for drastic change to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change.
Credit: Markus Spiske, Unsplash
The latest report was compiled by over 200 scientists from around the world. The report has been published three months before the next universal climate summit, which will occur in Glasgow, in a plea for all governments to come up with appropriate and drastic solutions to mitigate global warming.
The report contains numerous statistics, facts, and figures to help readers fully understand the complexity and dire situation presented by climate change as a whole. Below, we unpack the most crucial points:
1) Global warming levels are fast approaching the 1.5 and even the 2-degree limit. Currently, the planet’s temperature is reaching 1.1 degrees celsius - a first in the last 125 000 years. If we continue to emit as much carbon dioxide as we have been, we will far exceed the boundaries of the greenhouse gasses our atmosphere can hold within the next decade. This means we will reach our tipping point, which will be practically irreversible.
2) The effects of reaching this tipping point include uncontrollable wildfires, increased rainfall and flooding, severe droughts, and amplified permafrost thawing. We are already seeing the start of these natural disasters, but these are only minor impacts compared to the detrimental chaos that will occur if we supersede our global warming limit. The worst weather change will be drought, famine, and extreme heat waves. And these disasters won’t happen as singular events - they may occur all at once, making it impossible to find relief. This will dramatically impact agriculture practices for the worst, resulting in a knock-on effect for socio-economic issues across the globe.
3) Unfortunately, some climate and ecological changes cannot be reversed. Coastlines will be lost. Biomes will disappear. Biodiversity will take a harsh knock. Millions of animals and people will lose both their homes and their lives. While some ecosystems are already lost, we still have a chance to mitigate and even halt other drastic impacts on parts of the planet.
4) The most important aspect of the report states that we still have a chance to protect the planet for future generations, but we need to start implementing dramatic sustainable solutions RIGHT NOW. Every little bit truly does count and can make a difference, on both an individual and governmental level.
Caption: One of the numerous effects of global warming is drastic and unparalleled drought.
Credit: Joshua Woroneic, Unsplash
The future truly is in our hands now.
As an individual, you’re probably wondering what you can do to help mitigate global warming. Here are a few things:
Breathe easy, hope is not lost. Taking the first step towards leading a sustainable lifestyle is a step in the right direction on the footpath to a brighter and healthier future.
Caption: Every little bit counts, as long as you start acting NOW.
Credit: Markus Spiske, Unsplash
Read the full report here: Sixth Assessment Report (ipcc.ch)