by Hafid Boutaleb and Vincent Tan
The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest “Synthesis Report”, released today stated that there were multiple options that were feasible and effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to human-caused climate change.
At the same time, the report, which was approved after a week-long session in Interlaken, Switzerland, warned of more intense weather phenomena, from heatwaves to rainfall and other weather extremes increasing risks for human health and ecosystems.
Compiled from the international panel’s three Working Group reports, and three special reports, the final part of its Sixth Assessment cycle.
FINANCING AND COOPERATION CRITICAL
In the report’s final section, the panel stated that both climate-change adaptation and mitigation financing would need to be increased multiple times to achieve climate goals.
“There is sufficient international capital to close the global investment gaps, but there are barriers to redirect capital to climate action,” the panel summarised in the Synthesis Report.
The report also outlined that the investment required for mitigation between 2020 to 2030 that limited global warming temperatures to 2°C or 1.5°C, were a factor of three to six greater than current levels.
In addition, the report also highlighted international cooperation as a critical enabler for achieving the climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience development goals.
At the same time, the report also warned that the window for implementing climate adaptation options which were still feasible and effective currently, would become less so as the Earth continued to warm.
“With increasing global warming, losses and damages will increase and additional human and natural systems will reach adaptation limits,” the report stated.
If temperatures rose 1.5°C above the global warming mark, for example, places such as small islands with limited freshwater resources or areas dependent on glacial and snow melt for fresh water would face hard adaptation limits.
Once global warming exceeds 2°C, the report added, carbon sinks such as oceans and forests would lose their ability to absorb carbon emissions.
It was also noted that despite the IPCC highlighting the unprecedented scale of the challenge required to keep warming to 1.5°C, current efforts had not been enough.
“Five years later, that challenge has become even greater due to a continued increase in greenhouse gas emissions,” the panel stated in the report’s accompanying press release.
“In the last decade, deaths from floods, droughts and storms were 15 times higher in highly vulnerable regions,” said Aditi Mukherji, one of the report’s 93 authors.
THERE IS STILL HOPE
Dr Hoesung Lee, chairperson of the IPCC, explained, however, that there was still hope.
“Mainstreaming effective and equitable climate action will not only reduce losses and damages for
nature and people, it will also provide wider benefits.”
Dr Hoesung Lee, the chair of the IPCC during the release of the panel’s Synthesis Report in Interlaken, Switzerland. (Photo: Twitter/IPCC)