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04th Apr 2022

Climate policy must be enacted now to “secure a livable future” – United Nations

Hugh Carr

ipcc climate change

A lack of action could lead to disastrous consequences for the planet.

The United Nations (UN) has warned governments that stricter climate policies must be enacted to “secure a livable future” for generations to come.

The warning came along with the publishing of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Monday (4 April).

From 2010-2019, greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest levels in human history.

Scientists have recommended that governments should aim to reduce the level of global warming to 1.5°C to avoid major climate disasters across the world.

“We are at a crossroads,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee.

“The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming.

“I am encouraged by climate action being taken in many countries. There are policies, regulations and market instruments that are proving effective.

“If these are scaled up and applied more widely and equitably, they can support deep emissions reductions and stimulate innovation,” he added.

While a rising in temperature by 1.5°C will have a significant impact on the environment, a rising by 2°C will have disastrous consequences, including rising sea levels, extreme drought, and crises across food, energy, and water sectors.

Maintaining a change of 1.5°C over 2°C could prevent around 420 million fewer people from being frequently exposed to extreme heatwaves, about 65 million fewer people from being exposed to exceptional heatwaves, and the thawing of an estimated permafrost area of 1.5 to 2.5 million km2 over centuries.

“It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C ,” said IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Jim Skea.

“Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.”

According to the UN, global temperatures will stabilise when carbon dioxide emissions reach net zero.

Greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by a quarter by 2030.

Net zero carbon dioxide emissions globally must be achieved by the early 2050s to ensure a growth of 1.5°C, and the early 2070s for a growth of 2°C.

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