Environment

Lessons from the IPCC climate report

24 August 2021

By Josh P

A recent report from the IPCC on climate change has released some concerning projections for the future of the planet. What can we take from these reports and how can we try and prevent them?

There are numerous concerns to unpack with regards to this report. One of the most concerning is the continuing rise of the global temperature. We have recently seen several devastating events across the globe that have been heavily influenced by extreme temperatures.

From the wildfires that devastated Turkey, to the heat dome which caused chaos in Canada, extreme global warming events have become increasingly common in recent months.

Experts say that global temperatures could rise up to 2.7C by the late 21st century if we don’t act on our emissions.

Recommended Reading: Turkey wildfires explained

While this may not sound like a large rise, small incremental increases in temperature create a more extreme climate, which is responsible for freak weather events such as heatwaves.

climate-heatwave

Perhaps one piece of slightly less dreary news is that scientists don’t believe that breaching the 1.5C target will cause immediate chaos for the planet.

Comparing the temperature target to the legal speed limit, Professor Richard Betts states that: “exceeding it does not immediately lead to calamity, but the risks do increase if the limit is passed.”

So while we are not on the precipice of global catastrophe, it is abundantly clear that we are increasing the threat to the planet and the climate by pushing these extremes further and further.

These rising temperatures are, however, still preventable if we as a population begin to reduce our emissions. However, with the continued expansion of industries, it does seem like a foregone conclusion that we are on an inevitable path towards hitting these estimates.

Another key concern raised by the report is that many global issues are caused by past and present greenhouse gas emissions, and are likely irreversible for centuries to millennia. These issues are especially alarming in the ocean and the ice sheets.

This issue clearly highlights the harm we have caused to the environment and climate through our emissions. Now this impact is considered irreversible demonstrates the severity of our impact, and stresses the importance of working towards reducing our global output.

There have been signs of a positive response to the report. One sheepherder in Belgium has begun to utilise his flock of sheep to cut grass as a means of reducing the emissions of traditional lawnmowers.

Though a very minor action in the grand scale of global emission reduction, every minor action contributes towards prevention. If everyone was to make slight changes to their typical routines we could accumulate a large scale of overall change.

This report is certainly an eye-opener for us all and, hopefully, we can collectively combat what could be a potentially devastating future.

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