The world is warming faster than previously estimated, ‘a reality check’ report warns

Photo by Markus Spiske:

The UK is calling for urgent global action after a new UN report on the science of climate change states that the planet has warmed more than previously estimated.

The new report, the latest contribution to the sixth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warns that without urgent global action to limit warming, heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and loss of Arctic Sea ice, snow cover and permafrost will all increase while carbon sinks will become less effective at slowing the growth of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The report also highlights that cutting global emissions, starting immediately, to net zero by mid-century would give a good chance of limiting global warming to 1.5C in the long-term and help to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte commented: “This report is a reality check. We now have a much clearer picture of the past, present and future climate, which is essential for understanding where we are headed, what can be done, and how we can prepare.”

Today, more than 70% of the world’s economy is now covered by a net zero target.

The UK has plans to reduce its emissions by 68% by 2030 and 78% by 2035, leading to net zero by 2050.

May saw the establishment of the first net zero G7, with all countries coming forward with 2030 emission reduction targets that put them on a pathway to reaching this goal by 2050.

However, today’s report shows that more action is urgently needed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on the report: “Today’s report makes for sobering reading, and it is clear that the next decade is going to be pivotal to securing the future of our planet.

“We know what must be done to limit global warming – consign coal to history and shift to clean energy sources, protect nature and provide climate finance for countries on the frontline.

“The UK is leading the way, decarbonising our economy faster than any country in the G20 over the last two decades. I hope today’s IPCC report will be a wake-up call for the world to take action now, before we meet in Glasgow in November for the critical COP26 summit.”

Some progress has been made since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. More than 85 new or updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to 2030, representing over 110 parties, have been submitted to set out how countries will cut their emissions and address the climate crisis.

In a meeting with scientists later today, COP26 President Alok Sharma will encourage countries that have not already done so to urgently submit new or updated NDCs with their plans for ambitious climate action ahead of the November summit, particularly all major economies of the G20 who are responsible for over 80% of global emissions.

‘Contribution of the Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report’ can be read on the IPCC website.