United Nations’ scientists have released a landmark study detailing the possibility of humanity’s damaging impact on the climate in just over a decade. The ongoing emissions of warming gases are believed to reach the breaking of a key temperature limit resulting in a possible climate catastrophe.
Along with the study is a 42-page document from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC said that a rise in sea levels approaching two meters by the end of the century should not be ruled out. The document is the first in the series of studies that will be released in four stages next year. The publication of the first study came less than three months before the United Nations Climate Change Conference that the United Kingdom will host in November. It will be held in Glasgow.
Dr. Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson, Senior Researcher in Climate Change, Health and Migration, and an IPCC expert reviewer, said that the study noted that there could be changes in outdoor labor’s safety and productivity, air pollution, and declining health. If this continues, there can be significant displacement throughout the world. She also called for substantive changes to help protect the planet and humanity.
One of the lead authors of the report, Benjamin Sovacool, a Professor of Energy Policy in the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) and Director of the Sussex Energy Group, said, “The report, while complex, carries a sobering and simple message: We are on a track to true climate catastrophe. And while the science is sound, research is needed to examine why and under which conditions initiatives can be a successful driver of change, and which policies, institutional changes, governance structures, and legal regimes would support changes.”
Sovacool went on to say that these changes must ensure that global warming does not exceed two degrees Celsius temperature levels. To achieve that, the changes must be rapid, transformative, and sustained. Further, the world is set to use up its carbon budget in just years and not decades, so there is “an urgency unlike any other challenge facing human history.”
Professor Joseph Alcamo, the former Chief Scientist of the United Nations Environment Programme and as Professor of Environmental Systems Science and Director of the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP), also released a statement regarding the IPCC report. He pointed out that the report’s predictions and heatwaves, floods, and wildfires experienced today are not surprising anymore. He noted, “For at least three decades, the main science has been clear on climate change, but for three decades, our response has been too weak.”