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21st March 2023 (8 Topics)

IPCC Sixth Assessment Report

Context

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the final final report of the sixth assessment cycle.

 Findings of the report:

  • Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health and there is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a report 
  • Human activities have ‘unequivocally’ caused global warming. This has warmed the land and oceans by 1.1°C as observed for the period of 2011-2020, compared with the period 1850-1900.
  • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) announced by countries till October 2021 make it likely that warming will exceed 1.5°C during the 21st century and make it harder to limit warming below 2°C.
  • To achieve the 1.5°C goal with 50 per cent likelihood, we need rapid and deep GHG emissions reductions in all sectors this decade.
  • Climate justice is crucial because those who have contributed least to climate change are being disproportionately affected,

About the report:

  • This report is the final report of the sixth assessment cycle of the UN panel.
  • It is a summary of the 5 earlier reports released between 2018 and 2022.
  • Through its multiple assessment cycles beginning 1990, the IPCC has collated and analysed research by scientists on global warming, the long-term climate impact from current and future emissions and what people can do about it.

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.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions:

  • In 2019, global net anthropogenic Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were at 59 Giga tonnesof carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e), 54% higher than in 1990.
  • But the average annual rate of growth slowed to 3% per yearin the period 2010-19, compared to 1% per year in the period 2000-09.
  • At least 18 countrieshave reduced GHG emissions for longer than 10 years on a continuous basis due to decarbonisation of their energy system, energy efficiency measures and reduced energy demand

Low Emissions Technologies:

  • This could require measures such as the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere with natural or artificial means, but also potentially risky technologies such as pumping aerosolsinto the sky to reflect sunlight.
  • Among the solutions recommended are a rapid shift away from fossil fuelstoward renewable energy such as solar and wind, the electrification of transport, more efficient use of resources and massive financial support for poor countries unable to pay for such measures without help.
  • One move often described as “low-hanging fruit” by scientists is to plug methane leaksfrom mines, wells and landfills that release the potent but short-lived greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.
  • The costs of low emissions technologies have fallen continuously since 2010. On a unit costs basis, solar energy has dropped 85%, wind by 55 %, and lithium-ion batteries by 85%.
  • Their deployment, or usage, has increased multiple fold since 2010 — 10 times for solar and 100 times for electric vehicles.

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