Melting icecaps, Creative Commons.
On Monday, March 20th, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its 2023 report detailing the current state of the climate crisis. The report outlines data that the UN has collected about how climate change impacts different regions and the communities living in them differently and advises global lawmakers to prioritize policies that combat the climate crisis. This year, the report looks bleaker than ever, capturing an international cry for climate action.
In its 2023 report, the IPCC projected that the world is likely to reach and surpass a dangerous temperature threshold within the next ten years. If emissions rates cannot be curbed, we will not be able to limit warming temperatures to only 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Currently, the world has warmed approximately 1.1 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial temperatures. If current rates of emissions are not curbed we are likely to reach 1.5 degrees of warming by 2030. If global temperatures rise beyond that threshold scientists predict that climate disasters will become so extreme that humanity will not be able to adapt. This could mean that Earth could be fundamentally and irrevocably altered and famine, heat waves, and infectious disease could claim millions of lives by the end of the century.
The IPCC has also stated that human activity has changed the planet at a remarkable pace and scale that has no historical precedent. Developing nations are likely to be the hardest hit by the effects of climate change. In response to the report the chair of the Alliance of Small Island States Fatumanava-o-Upolu III Dr. Pa'olelei Luteru said: "While our people are being displaced from their homes and climate commitments go unmet, the fossil fuel industry is enjoying billions in profits. There can be no excuses for this continued lack of action."
There are still ways to combat the problems that we face from climate change. The UN secretary general Antonio Guterres says that countries should bring forward their current climate policies by about 10 years. This could be a way to combat long term emissions and ultimately stave off planetary temperatures warming above what they already have. Guterres also said that developed countries should try to reach net zero emissions by 2040.
Currently, global greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to increase and current carbon-cutting efforts and policies have not been effective in curbing that increase. With temperatures rising we need now more than ever to have legislation in place that regulates carbon emissions.
To read more about the 2023 IPCC Report visit these links: