- Title: U.N. sounds clarion call over 'irreversible' climate impacts by humans
- Date: 9th August 2021
- Summary: DEATH VALLEY, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (FILE - JUNE 16, 2021) (REUTERS) TOURISTS POSING FOR PICTURES NEXT TO THERMOMETER WITH 129 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT, 53 DEGREES CELSIUS, OUTSIDE OF DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK VISITOR CENTER VIEW OF THE AMERICAN FLAG AGAINST THE SUN THERMOMETER READING 129 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT, 54 DEGREES CELSIUS ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA (FILE - JULY 15, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SPRINKLER TRUCKS SPRAYING WATER ON PEOPLE IN DVORTSOVAYA SQUARE
- Embargoed: 23rd August 2021 09:14
- Keywords: IPCC United Nations climate change global warming greenhouse gas report
- Location: VARIOUS LOCATION
- City: VARIOUS LOCATION
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Climate Change,Climate Policy and Regulation,Environment,Europe,General News
- Reuters ID: LVA006EPK6UKN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The U.N. climate panel sounded a dire warning on Monday (August 9), saying the world is dangerously close to runaway warming - and that humans are "unequivocally" to blame.
Greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere are already high enough to guarantee climate disruption for decades if not centuries, scientists warn in a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
That's on top of the deadly heat waves, powerful hurricanes and other weather extremes that are happening now and are likely to become more severe.
The IPCC report comes just three months before a major U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, where nations will be under pressure to pledge ambitious climate action and substantial financing.
Drawing on more than 14,000 scientific studies, the report gives the most comprehensive and detailed picture yet of how climate change is altering the natural world -- and what could still be ahead.
Unless immediate, rapid and large-scale action is taken to reduce emissions, the report says, the average global temperature will likely cross the 1.5-degree Celsius warming threshold within the next 20 years.
So far, nations' pledges to cut emissions have been inadequate for bringing down the level of greenhouse gases accumulated in the atmosphere.
Emissions "unequivocally caused by human activities" have pushed today's average global temperature 1.1C higher than the pre-industrial average -- and would have pushed it 0.5C further if not for the tempering effect of pollution in the atmosphere, the report says.
That means that, as societies transition away from fossil fuels, much of the aerosols in the air would vanish -- and temperatures could spike.
Scientists warn that warming more than 1.5C above the pre-industrial average could trigger runaway climate change with catastrophic impacts, such as heat so intense that crops fail or people die just from being outdoors.
Every additional 0.5C of warming will also boost the intensity and frequency of heat extremes and heavy rainfall, as well as droughts in some regions. Because temperatures fluctuate from year to year, scientists measure climate warming in terms of 20-year averages.
The 1.1C warming already recorded has been enough to unleash disastrous weather. This year, heat waves killed hundreds in the Pacific Northwest and smashed records around the world. Wildfires fuelled by heat and drought are sweeping away entire towns in the U.S. West, releasing record emissions from Siberian forests, and driving Greeks to flee their lands by ferry.
(Production: Cecile Mantovani)
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