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IPCC report warns of unavoidable multiple climate hazards

  • Published
    1st Mar, 2022
Context

Recently second part of IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report which talks about climate change impacts, risks and vulnerabilities, and adaptation options has been released

About

Key findings of the report:

  • Climate impacts are already more widespread and severe than expected.
    • Climate change is already causing widespread disruption in every region in the world with just 1.1 degrees C (2 degrees F) of warming.
    • Withering droughts, extreme heat and record floods already threaten food security and livelihoods for millions of people.
  • We are locked into even worse impacts from climate change in the near-term. 
    • Even if the world rapidly decarbonizes, greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere and current emissions trends will make some very significant climate impacts unavoidable through 2040.
    • The IPCC estimates that in the next decade alone, climate change will drive 32-132 million more people into extreme poverty.
    • Global warming will jeopardize food security, as well as increase the incidence of heat-related mortality, heart disease and mental health challenges.
  • Risks will escalate quickly with higher temperatures, often causing irreversible impacts of climate change.
    • The report finds that every tenth of a degree of additional warming will escalate threats to people, species and ecosystems.
    • Even limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) — a global target in the Paris Climate Agreement — is not safe for all.
    • For instance, with just 1.5 degrees C of global warming
    • Many glaciers around the world will either disappear completely or lose most of their mass;
      • an additional 350 million people will experience water scarcity by 2030;
      • As much as 14% of terrestrial species will face high risks of extinction.
      • Inequity, conflict and development challenges such as poverty, weak governance, and limited access to basic services like healthcare not only heighten sensitivity to hazards, but also constrain communities’ ability to adapt to climatic changes. 
  • Adaptation is crucial. Feasible solutions already exist, but more support must reach vulnerable communities.
    • The IPCC estimates that adaptation needs will reach $127 billion and $295 billion per year for developing countries alone by 2030 and 2050, respectively.
    • At the moment, adaptation accounts for just 4-8% of tracked climate finance, which totalled $579 billion in 2017-18.

Key findings with respect to India:

  • Over 3.5 billion people, over 45% of the global population, were living in areas highly vulnerable to climate change.
  • The report identifies India as one of the vulnerable hotspots, with several regions and important cities facing very high risk of climate disasters such as flooding, sea-level rise and heat-waves.
    • The IPCC report has looked at the health impacts of climate change.
  • It has found that climate change is increasing vector-borne and water-borne diseases such as malaria or dengue, particularly in sub-tropical regions of Asia.
  • It has also said deaths related to circulatory, respiratory, diabetic and infectious diseases, as well as infant mortality, are likely to increase with a rise in temperature.
  • Increasing frequency of extreme weather events like heatwaves, flooding and drought, and even air pollution was contributing to under-nutrition, allergic diseases and even mental disorders.

About IPCC:

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change.
  • The IPCC was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • It aims to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.
  • IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report: The meeting to draft the outline of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) took place in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) in May 2017.
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