A new report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns of continued and intensified adverse impacts from climate change and outlines the adaptation and mitigation options that should be taken now, noting the window to make feasible and effective changes is decreasing.
The report begins by assessing the current state of climate change, noting global surface temperature reached 1.1 degrees Celsius above the 1850-1900 level in 2011-2020. While there are various predictions for how much the planet will continue to warm under different scenarios and models, the IPCC observes “the best estimate” is 1.5 degrees Celsius will be reached in the near term (2021-2040). The IPCC emphasizes the “risks and projected adverse impacts and related losses and damages from climate change will escalate with every increment of global warming,” some of which are discussed. This presents an imperative for “climate resilient development,” which involves not only adaptation activities to reduce the impacts of current and future climate change but also mitigation measures to lessen further warming. The report includes sections explaining adaptation and mitigation measures that should be considered, categorizing some by systems (e.g., energy; cities, settlements, and infrastructure; and land, ocean, food, and water). In a video message released on Monday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres described the report as a “how-to guide to defuse the climate time-bomb.” Access the report at the UN IPCC (also posted below) and read relevant articles at Homeland Security Today and the BBC.