Climate Change ‘code red’

Climate Change ‘code red’

BLOG · BY TTF FLEGT Communications Executive LUCY BEDRY · 09 August 2021

Ahead of COP26, the IPCC have released their 6th assessment report reflecting humanities damaging impact on the climate as a “statement of fact”.

Today, on the 9th of August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have released their sombre 6th assessment report that “it is unequivocal and indisputable that humans are warming the planet”. 

Each of the last four decades has been successively warmer than any decade that preceded it since 1850. The global surface temperature has increased by 1.09C between 2011-2020 compared to 1850-1900 levels. In addition, the past five years have been the hottest on records since 1850 and the rate of sea-level rise has nearly tripled compared to 1901-1971. 

With the recent floods in Germany and China, heatwaves and forest fires in Greece and western North America, the evidence is insurmountable that: human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. 

Temperature rise is a key area of research and attention within the report. The Paris Agreement in 2015, set to keep global temperature rise well below 2C, ideally below 1.5C, this century. These targets are both set to be missed this century, with predictions that 1.5C will be reached by 2040, in less than 20 years. 

The consequences of omitting the limit of heating will result in more intense and frequent heat waves, droughts, flash floods and further environmental hazards. Limiting global warming to 1.5c will still see inevitable and irreversible long-term impacts.

UN Secretary-General, António Guterres has declared the report as a “code red for humanity”. 

There is some hope that ruthless and stringent cuts to emissions of greenhouse gases could stabilise rising temperatures, but that there is “no time for delay and no room for excuses,” Mr Guterres further states. Global emissions need to be halved by 2030 and net-zero reached by 2050 if we are to halt and have hopes to reverse the rise of temperatures and the inevitable climate crisis accompanied.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by using clean, green technology, utilising carbon capture and storage or eradicating the use of fossil fuels and over resource depletion are some of the ways to reach net-zero. 

The report outlines strategies for each sector for which there are many relating to the protection of forests, and especially ending tropical deforestation. These include: supporting forest-rich countries in reducing deforestation and forest degradation; reducing competition for land and land conversion from forests; recognising the role of indigenous peoples as forest stewards; and reducing fossil fuel emissions immediately.

Dr Otto optimises that “we are not doomed” but this report needs to be the final wake-up call for political leaders. The gravity of the climate crisis has been apparent for decades. The recent and increasing frequency, scale and intensity is the result of past inaction which can not be ignored any longer, chief of scientists at Greenpeace UK pledges. 

The IPCC release comes less than eighty days until COP26, the United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow, November 2021, reflecting the ambition, hope and motivation which needs to be behind all government leaders and stakeholders to ensure that COP26 is a success. 

The full AR6 Climate Change 2021 and documents can be found here.