Global warming. urgency to act

It is no longer a matter of alerting the world to the seriousness of the development of rapid and rapid climate change. In the latest report published today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has put, this time, in the hands of the decision makers of this world, i.e. mainly the states, a practical guide to action before it happens. Surely it’s too late.

The report provides an overview of hundreds of scientific studies conducted since 2013 and published in scientific journals. Indeed, since the early 2010-2020s scientific knowledge has consolidated but the overall situation has worsened. Because the above studies have poorly nurtured decisions and actions. This collective work of scientists sums up one sentence: “Climate change is spreading, accelerating and intensifying”.

The accompanying report “Summary for Decision Makers” draws on a commonly shared observation: “Human impacts have markedly warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land mass”. The average surface temperature is 1.09 °C warmer than in 1850. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere reaches more than 410 ppm, a level not reached by the planet for two million years. This change is directly attributable to human activity.

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Glaciers are retreating around the world, Arctic ice is shrinking rapidly, Greenland’s ice cover has begun to melt, ocean acidification has begun, and sea levels continue to rise. “Extreme weather events” are becoming more frequent: heat waves, intense rainfall, droughts, tropical cyclones.

According to report co-author Sonia Seneviratne, “some extreme events such as heat waves or heavy rainfall can now be attributed to human influence”. From 1850 to 1900, an extreme heat wave occurred every 10 years. With a global warming of 2 °C, heat waves are expected to repeat 5.6 times every 10 years.

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With 4 °C higher, the recurrence of heat waves will occur every 10 years, or approximately 9.6 times every year. In fact, it is not only a question of frequency but also of intensity. The irreversibility of some changes is more serious.

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This is especially the case with sea level rise associated with the melting of glaciers. The same is the case with the return of forests. Urbanization favors extreme heat waves, making coastal cities more vulnerable, leaving them exposed after intense rainfall, due to large wave breakage and river overflow. The slowing of the flow of the Great Atlantic Ocean exposes Europe to dryness.

The danger is drawing near. IPCC experts estimate the maximum period to avoid the worst is 20 years. It is a question of taking immediate action by limiting the cumulative emissions of CO2, and greenhouse gases in particular, methane. This is the only way.

Currently, 40 billion tons of CO2 are emitted each year. According to IPCC experts, the reduction in emissions due to Kovid in 2020 does not have a noticeable effect (that’s a very small entertainment) on atmospheric concentration. Humanity is called upon to radically change the way it consumes and its relationship with nature. Breaking something is painful but necessary.

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About the Author: Hanley Mallin

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