Noting that nearly half of the world’s population is already vulnerable to increasingly dangerous climate impacts, the report calls for drastic action on a large scale: One-third to one-half of the planet needs are preserved and protected to ensure future supplies of food and fresh water. Coastal cities need a plan to keep residents safe from storms and sea level rise. And more.
“Adaptation saves lives”, United Nations Secretary-General Anthony Guterres said with the release of the report. “As climate impacts worsen – and they will – scaling up investments will be essential to survival… Delay means death. ”
This report is the latest in a series of papers by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) detailing the latest global consensus on climate science. However, this report focuses on how nature and society are being affected and what they can do to adapt.
The report clearly shows that climate change is impacting the world much faster than scientists predicted. Meanwhile, countries have failed to curb planet-warming carbon emissions, which continue to rise.
“Unregulated carbon pollution is forcing the world’s most vulnerable people to destruction,” Guterres said in a video speech on Monday. “The truth is undeniable. This leadership abdication is a crime.”
The report said that while governments need to significantly limit emissions to prevent global warming, they can also work to limit suffering by adapting to the conditions of a new world. warmer world, the report said. That will cost a lot of money – to fund new technologies and institutional support. Cities can invest in cooling zones to help residents weather heat waves. Coastal communities may need new infrastructure or be completely displaced.
Kristina Dahl, a climate expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said: “In terms of adaptation to change, we can plan and do it now, otherwise it will be lost. impacted by climate change. report.
But in some cases, the report admits, the costs of adaptation will be too high.
The report, released three months after global leaders met at a climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, highlights the urgency of efforts to curb global warming to 1 .5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial temperatures.
It says breaching that threshold will cause irreversible damage to the planet. And each heat up causes more pain.
“Adaptation is not a free card. There are limits to adaptation,” Maarten van Aalst, director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Center and report co-author. “We should reduce greenhouse gas emissions because if we don’t, it’s going to get really bad.”
Limiting global warming to close to 1.5 degrees Celsius may not prevent damage to nature, society or the economy, but will significantly reduce them, the report said.
After having warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius, the planet is expected to hit 1.5 degrees Celsius within two decades.
The report warns that societies will not be able to adapt well to a warming world if they do not integrate into society in solving tasks. It says solutions need to consider social equity and include indigenous populations, minorities and the poor.
“The poorest and most disadvantaged are the most vulnerable,” Timon McPhearson, an urban ecologist at The New School in New York and one of the report’s 270 authors. That includes people living in developing countries in Africa, South Asia and small island nations, as well as marginalized communities in wealthy nations like the United States.
For example, without inclusive economic development in Africa, climate change is expected to push an additional 40 million people into extreme poverty by 2030. protecting the environment – for example uprooting invasive plants that deplete water supplies – can lead to report co-authors saying: Christopher Trisosa climate risk researcher at University of Cape Town.
The authors warn that time is running out for social transformations. The decisions that society makes over the next decade will determine the future climate path.
“There is a short and rapidly closing window to ensure a habitable future on the planet,” Hans-Otto Portner, co-chair of the IPCC working group that created the report. “We need to face this challenge.”