What’s up with the environment today? Here’s what you need to know about the latest IPCC report

What is the IPCC report?

A new IPCC report, which is nothing but validating all our anticipations to the catastrophic news. Confirmation of our research and experience on the effects of climate change. Thousands of pages of information were compiled by hundreds of scientists not just predicting what the future holds but also stating what is happening right now.  A collective effort by 195 countries of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – one reliable place for an up-to-date comprehensive understanding of the climate crisis. 

 

What does the IPCC report of 2021 say?

As we know, each decade after the 1980s has been warmer than the last, and as a result, the surface temperature has risen a little more than one degree Celsius since 1850, all due to human activities and the burning of fossil fuels. The “human-caused” climate change is not just messing with the water cycle but also changing rainfall patterns, storm tracks, and the salt content of the ocean. Every corner of this planet is already experiencing impacts and will increasingly face these as the climate changes. The changes aren’t just rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions but the decrease in white cover of our planet which includes permafrost, snow, glaciers, ice sheets, lake, and arctic sea ice. The increase in extreme heat won’t just affect human health but also agriculture, to say the least. Added to that is the intensification of tropical cyclones and extratropical storms, fiery weather, river floods, followed by increased overall rainfall and increased dryness. As the cities and urban infrastructure get larger, this expansion also leads to the severity of heat events, extreme rainfall, and increased flooding of those places. This begets more melting of permafrost and erosion of land into the sea, threatening displacement of people, leading to climate refugees. Supercharged cyclones like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and droughts are more than likely, not just in increased severity but also in frequency. To quote from the IPCC report for policymakers, “If global warming increases, some compound extreme events with low likelihood in past and current climate will become more frequent, and there will be a higher likelihood that events with increased intensities, durations and/or spatial extents unprecedented in the observational record will occur”.  It was clear that there is a huge difference between the temperatures rising by 1.5° or 2°  and everything beyond. As the thermometer scales upwards, the expected impacts get worse. For example,  right now the extreme heat events occur 5 times as often as they did historically, but with a 1.5° rise it would be 9 times as often, and with 2° it would be 14 times as often. The same goes for rainstorms to fiery weather.

What can be our takeaway?

Change, yes change is inevitable but what kind of change are we looking forward to? Where do we see ourselves 10 years down the line? Though physical climate impacts are not a guarantee of the apocalyptic end times. We have dealt with these environmental hazards before, but are we ready for what we have signed up for? We have acted as per our choice which led to this but now what?

Let us bring the change. Let’s go Zero.

 

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