From food insecurity to our physical and mental health, the impact of climate change affects people all over the world and the window is fast closing for us to prevent catastrophic and irreversible consequences a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which evaluates climate science for the United Nations.
This edition of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report was authored by 270 scientists from 67 countries and is the second of three parts the first report published in August 2021 and the third expected in April. The new assessment was published on Monday (February 28) and presented to IPCC officials at a virtual press event how climate change is affecting billions of people where we live.
Overall, an estimated 3.3 to 3.6 billion people live in regions considered “highly vulnerable to climate change,” according to the report. However, the effects of global warming are unevenly distributed, and those most vulnerable to climate change are often cut off from resources that could help them adapt or mitigate risks.
“Today’s IPCC report is an atlas of human suffering and a scathing indictment of failed climate leadership,” UN Secretary-General António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres said at the briefing. Evidence in the report from more than 34,000 scientific sources shows how extreme storms, droughtsfloods, heat waves, etc Forest fires – all of which are increasing in severity and frequency due to climate change – disrupting food production, affecting fisheries and aquaculture; cause costly damage to cities and infrastructure; and undermine human health.
Moreover, this disruption will only worsen the longer we delay the necessary steps to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and help the hardest-hit parts of the world adapt to changes that have already occurred, Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC, said in a statement.
“This report is a dire warning of the consequences of inaction,” Lee said. “It shows that climate change is a serious and growing threat to our well-being and a healthy planet.”
Limiting heating to 2.7 F would require a cut greenhouse gas emissions 40% globally and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050; Instead, the world is on track to increase emissions by an estimated 14% over the next decade, Guterres said at the briefing.
“It means disaster. It will destroy any chance of holding 1.5 [C] alive,” he said.
According to the report, food and water insecurity is increasing, affecting millions of people worldwide, “particularly in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, on small islands and in the Arctic” caused by cascading effects of climate change extreme weather, such as heat , drought and floods. On average, global agricultural growth has slowed over the past 50 years Earth Warming, with most adverse impacts occurring in mid- and low-latitude regions, the authors wrote.
As extreme heat events increase worldwide, there are more deaths annually from heat waves and respiratory complications associated with already elevated temperatures air pollution. Climate-related food and water-borne diseases are spreading further and faster, as are vector-borne diseases and zoonotic diseases driven by the expansion of the range of organisms that transmit harmful pathogens, the report says.
Data from North America shows that climate change is damaging Mental health, to. People who have lost their homes, livelihoods or loved ones to floods and wildfires can be affected by post-traumatic stress disorder, while other impacts of climate change, such as food insecurity, can also affect mental well-being, reports co-author Sherilee Harper. an associate professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta in Canada, said at the Feb. 27 briefing. Watching the news or reading about the damage caused by climate change — and worrying about what is to come — can also have a negative impact on mental health, even if the person watching the news isn’t aware of devastating climate change first Hand experienced, Harper said.
Can we adapt?
The good news is that humans are an adaptable species and can adapt to living in a warming world; Indeed, “growing public and political awareness of climate impacts and risks has led to at least 170 countries and many cities incorporating adaptation into their climate policies and planning processes,” the authors write. However, these strategies can vary widely by location and are severely constrained by injustice and poverty, according to the report.
One of the IPCC’s key findings is that many viable adaptation options rely on natural ecosystems, such as wetlands and inland rivers, that help mitigate flooding from rising sea levels in coastal areas, IPCC report co-author Camille Parmesan told the National Marine Aquarium Chair in the Public Understanding of Oceans and Human Health at the Marine Institute, University of Plymouth, UK.
“We now have more evidence of this dependency and that many adaptation options involve some level of restoration and protection of natural ecosystems and development of society in ways that are more integrated into a matrix of a natural landscape,” Parmesan said in a March 27 briefing. February.
However, many natural ecosystems are already on the brink of collapse due to the stresses of global warming, and mounting evidence shows that when natural systems fail, our ability to adapt will be greatly reduced. The Earth has already warmed to nearly 2.0 F (1.09 C) above pre-industrial average temperatures, and the impacts on various ecosystems are far more negative and widespread than previous reports anticipated, Parmesan said.
Some of the changes outlined in the new report were unexpected at 2.0 F warming, such as: B. the emergence of disease in North American forests, the first species extinction due to climate change, and mass die-offs in trees and mammals due to heat waves and drought. With increasing outbreaks of insect pests, more tree diebacks and wildfires, and permafrost loss and peatlands drying up, the Earth’s biosphere is becoming less and less receptive greenhouse gases emitted by humans. Regions that were once reliable carbon sinks — absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) — such as old-growth Amazon rainforests and permafrost in undisturbed areas of North America and Siberia are turning into carbon factories in some areas, producing more carbon than they absorb. according to the report.
And since these changes are already underway at current warming levels, reversing these processes will likely be more difficult than models predict should warming rise above the 2.7F target, Parmesan added.
Because adapting to a warming world — and limiting warming to 2.7F — requires global collaboration and significant investment from the world’s nations, the challenge can seem overwhelming on a personal level. But even seemingly small actions can help shape change in communities and help us adapt to global warming, said report co-author Kristie Ebi, a professor in the University’s Department of Global Health of Washington in Seattle, to Live Science in an email.
“There are many actions that individuals can take independently of governments – screening older adults and other vulnerable populations during heat waves is one example among many,” Ebi said. “There are also thousands of NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] in the US, many of whom are working on issues related to adaptation and sustainability, including vulnerability reduction. Working with local NGOs on interesting topics is an excellent opportunity to drive adaptation,” she said.
Indeed, the IPCC report indicates that a “societal response” – one that encompasses individuals, communities and governments – will be essential if we are to succeed in reducing fossil fuel dependency, limiting global warming and tackling the challenges of global warming to adapt to climate change, said report co-author and IPCC co-chair Debra Roberts, director of sustainable and resilient urban initiatives at eThekwini municipality in Durban, South Africa.
“We all have to choose the solution,” Roberts said at Monday’s press conference. “How we use our sense of agency in the world, how we engage with processes of governance, how we engage with leadership in our communities, what kind of priorities we express for the kind of world we want to see, what will affect policy – all this is crucial. The individual can play a crucial role.”
Originally published on Live Science.
Humanity faces ‘grave and mounting threat’ of climate change — unless we act, IPCC report reveals Source link Humanity faces ‘grave and mounting threat’ of climate change — unless we act, IPCC report reveals