Last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its fifth assessment report which should make policy markers act with the sense of urgency it requires. The IPCC said that
it is extremely likely human influence has been the dominant cause” of global warming since 1950 and warned of more rapid ice melt and rising seas if governments do not aggressively act to reduce the pace of greenhouse gas emissions. And the warning needs to be taken seriously because the IPCC is a panel of the world’s leading climate scientists and was appointed by the United Nations, which gives credibility to its findings. “As the ocean warms, and glaciers and ice sheets reduce, global mean sea level will continue to rise but at a faster rate than we have experienced over the past 40 years,” a scientist said. Some other key findings of the report were that the planet is warming at a hectic pace without any doubt, and that humans are causing it with 95 percent certainty and that the past three decades have been the hottest since the start of the Industrial Revolution in 1850. Reports say that surface temperatures have already risen by 0.89C in the past 200 years and could rise by a further 3C or more by the end of the century, which will have disastrous consequences for human being. People living on coasts face increased flooding, as we are already seeing in several parts of the world, while those living at the edge of deserts, which are spreading fast, could suffer famine and an increased number of diseases.
There is no doubt that the world needs to act urgently to reduce carbon emissions. But unfortunately, we are continuing to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at an increased pace. The IPCC report bluntly states that since the Industrial Revolution began, we have burned half a trillion tonnes of carbon from coal, oil and gas, states, what is worse, we are set to burn another half trillion in a few decades.
At the same time, the obstacles in the way of reducing carbon emissions remain as formidable as ever.
Climate talks remain deadlocked, with nations haggling over each and every term and refusing to budge from their hostile positions, countries continuing to burn fossil fuels with no sincere and large-scale efforts made to create public awareness, and the number of climate change deniers increasing all over the world. It has been said that those who deny climate change rely on wrong data, while the latest report, which runs into 2,000 pages, paints the correct picture.
The IPCC report provides a golden opportunity for countries to shed their lethargy and initiate measures to prevent a catastrophe in the future•