Giving Compass' Take:
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s new report states that human activity is a significant contributor to the climate crisis and provides an overview of the potential tipping points.
- How can donors help advance organizations' efforts to cut emmissions and address global warming? What efforts will need to happen across sectors to have meaningful progress?
- Learn more about climate action here.
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“It is unequivocal.” Those stark three words are the first in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s new report. The climate crisis is unequivocally caused by human activities and is unequivocally affecting every corner of the planet’s land, air and sea already.
The report, produced by hundreds of the world’s top scientists, with sign off by all the world’s governments, concludes that it could get far worse if the slim chance remaining to avert heating above 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) is not immediately grasped.
The scientific language of the report is cold and clear but cannot mask the heat and chaos that global heating is unleashing on the world. We have already caused 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F) of heating, getting perilously close to the 1.5 degrees C danger limit agreed in the Paris climate deal. Downpours of rain have been accelerating since the 1980s.
Accelerating melting of ice has poured trillions of tonnes of water into the oceans, where oxygen levels are falling – suffocating the seas – and acidity is rising. Sea level has already risen by nearly 8 inches, with more now irreversibly baked in.
The greenhouse gas emissions spewed out by fossil fuel burning, forest destruction, and other human activities are now clearly destabilizing the mild climate in which civilization began, the report shows. Carbon dioxide levels in the air are now at their highest point for at least 2 million years.
When was the last time we saw heating this fast? At least 2,000 years ago and probably 100,000 years. Temperatures this high? At least 6,500 years. Sea level rising so fast? At least 3,000 years. Oceans so acidic? Two million years.
All this is already hurting people everywhere, the report spells out. Heatwaves and the heavy rains that lead to flooding have become more intense and more frequent since the 1950s, affecting more than 90 percent of the world’s regions, according to the report. Drought is increasing in more than 90 percent of the regions for which there is good data. It is more than 66 percent likely that the number of major hurricanes and typhoons has increased since the 1970s.
So what of the future? Some heating is already inevitable. We will definitely hit 1.5 degrees C in the next two decades, whatever happens to emissions, the IPCC finds. The only good news is that keeping to 1.5C is not yet impossible.
Read the full article about climate change by Damian Carrington at Grist.