Published in March, the IPPC’s AR6 Synthesis Report on Climate Change updates its predictions of the effects of temperature rises. It starkly concludes that those temperature rises will have a bigger impact at lower temperatures than previously predicted. Charlotte Edmond, writing for the World Economic Forum, picks out five charts from the report to illustrate the point: the range of likely temperature rises; global map of change in temperature, soil moisture and precipitation; severity of species loss, heat-humidity risks to humans, food production impacts; how the IPCC’s predictions have worsened since 2014; decarbonisation gap. The IPCC warns that the available options we have to cope will become less feasible and effective the warmer the world gets, so the window is rapidly closing on the ramp-up of decarbonisation urgently needed now.
- The world is already feeling the effects of climate change – and the risks predicted will actually have a bigger impact at lower temperatures than we previously thought, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
- Its assessment is that we are not doing nearly enough to cut emissions and limit temperatures, and we’re way off course to meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement.
- These 5 charts lay out some of the report’s findings, and the consequences of not making widespread, deep and rapid emissions cuts.
Climate change has already had a substantial impact on humans and the planet. And every increment of global warming we cause will have a profound effect on future generations.
IPPC’s AR6 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2023
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the climate crisis makes it clear that the actions we take over the next few years will have a direct impact on our ability to create a liveable and sustainable planet.
The adaptation option we have available to us now will become less feasible and effective the warmer the world gets. And so the window is rapidly closing if we are to limit warming to below 1.5°C, as set out in the Paris Agreement.
These charts explain why that mission is so important.
1. Our choices right now affect how we and future generations will experience the world
From 2011-2020, greenhouse gas emissions caused temperatures to rise 1.1°C above levels seen in 1850-1900. And global surface temperatures have increased faster since 1970 than in any other 50-year period in the last 2,000 years.
Unless we take action now to limit global warming to below 1.5°C, current and future generations will end up living in a far hotter and profoundly different world to the one we currently know.
2. Every increment of global warming is making climate extremes more noticeable
The warmer the planet gets, the more pronounced the changes will become. Average climate and weather extremes will shift further and further away from what we currently recognise as “normal”, causing widespread disruption and damage to populations, livelihoods and the environment.
3. The impacts of climate change will be widespread and are already being felt
Failing to act on climate change will have serious consequences in multiple ways. We will lose large numbers of animal species because they will be unable to adapt to the new environment they face, and ecosystems will collapse.
Rising temperatures and humidity will also pose threats to human health and well-being, and risk making some areas unliveable.
And food yields and supplies will all be hit, with crops and animals killed by temperature extremes, droughts and floods.
Climate-related risks dominate the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2023, with failure to mitigate climate change perceived as the biggest number risk facing the world over the next 10 years. Natural disasters, extreme weather events, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse are also top concerns.
4. More damage will happen at lower temperatures than we previously thought
Assessments of the impacts and risks associated with each given increment of temperature rise have been updated as the world’s scientific understanding improves – and the prognosis is not good. The upshot is that much of the projected fallout from global warming will actually kick in at lower temperatures than we initially anticipated.
These risks will also interact with each other, which could compound the problem and introduce further complexity.
5. Limiting global warming requires action now
All the ways modelled to limit warming to 1.5°C involve widespread, deep and rapid – if not immediate – cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. But our current trajectory is way off what is required, meaning that temperatures are exceeding targets and timelines are being missed.
Our current implemented targets could see us not only falling short of the Paris Agreement goals, but put us on track for some of the most severe impacts modelled.
Charlotte Edmond is a Senior Writer and editorial team manager at Formative Content, writing for the World Economic Forum
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