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IPCC Climate Report 2022

Who would have thought that a climate change report could possibly be one of the most important documents in the history of humankind? Yes, you’ve heard it right! The latest report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2022, a Working Group II’s contribution, has portrayed many eye-opening visuals. And the data and statistics are completely backed by evidence. The 3,675-page document is astonishingly a result of 34,000 studies and the work of 270 expert authors from 67 countries. The report paper is as comprehensive as it could be and unleashes a nerve-wracking picture of the impacts and future risks of climate change.


Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, described the report as “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.”

We have tried to state down the most relevant readings of the report below under a few broad heads.



Human actions and climate change


According to IPCC, the main drivers behind climate change activities are we, humans. The famous quote from the Bible, “As you sow, so shall you reap” fits in perfectly here. We have been recklessly burning fossil fuels, cutting down trees, wasting water, generating ample waste, and emitting huge levels of CO2 into the atmosphere and whatnot for decades and doing this has taken a huge toll on humans. Our activities have kick-started the agonising effects of climate change and we are majorly facing the wrath of nature.


Severe Damage is already done


There already exists a massive layer of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. And a legit challenge lies in there. Because how much ever we try to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions, how are we going to stop the consequences of already present GHGs in the atmosphere? The at-present quantity of GHGs is enough to do us great harm. Natural disasters have already begun to take frequent and catastrophic turns. Instances and frequencies of heat waves surges, floods, storms and droughts have never been so common.


Let us take, for example, the tragic situation of Somalia. It has been caught in severe drought conditions, which have led to major food shortages, water shortages, emerging diseases, malnutrition, displacements and deaths. Because drought-led dust storms degrade air quality, respiratory infections like bronchitis and pneumonia also affect people. Where people of Somalia are praying for at least one meal a day, many in other parts of the world are wasting food unreasonably. The floods in Pakistan in 2022 that lasted for 2-3 months affected nearly 15% of its population and took 1800 lives and caused damage of around $14.9 billion. Crop productivity has significantly dipped in the past few years. Temperatures in the UK soared as high as above 40 ºC for the first time. The Russia-Ukraine war was responsible for energy shortages and economic disruption across Europe. Many such incidents make us believe that inaction could put us in these situations at any moment.


Rising temperatures and rising risks


The Paris Agreement has stressed enough the need to limit global temperatures to 1.5 ºC and in no case should it cross 2 ºC. As per the reports of the World Research Institute, there has been a rise of 1.1 ºC in global temperatures till today and we can visibly feel its impacts. A rise above 1.5 ºC will add to the impacts beyond our imaginations and we really won't be able to tolerate them. A future estimation by IPCC reveals that climate change will convert 32-132 million more people into extreme poverty. And with rising temperatures, get ready to experience more instances of surges of heat waves, floods, food unavailability, illnesses and bad quality of life.


Diseases


When we talk about diseases, we cannot disassociate COVID-19 from the word. It has etched its name in the history of pandemics. We all have seen the havoc that it created. But what is the connection between climate change and pandemics? According to research undertaken by Dr. Aaron Bernstein, Director of Harvard Chan C-CHANGE, there exists some evidence between changing climate and the emergence of newer diseases. He enlightens that rising temperatures forces species on Earth to vacate their homeland and migrate to other areas. This puts them into contact with other species and creates an opportunity for pathogens to get into new hosts. Climate change is thus going to bring with it many such pandemics, controlling which is going to be a nightmare.


Irreversible tipping points


IPCC reveals that 1.5 ºC is not a safe spot either. It will only limit the damage. But the damage is inevitable and irreversible. By the time we are successful in achieving the 1.5 ºC mark, many species will already have gone extinct, many glaciers will already have melted and losses due to high temperatures, including but not limited to human lives, will have been caused.


The Methane danger


An entire chapter was dedicated by IPCC to methane, aerosols and particulate matter. It stated that methane levels are at their highest in 8,00,000 years. If we consider a 20-year timeline, it has a global warming impact 84 times higher. It said that methane emissions should be pondered over.


Vulnerability & Adaptation


IPCC laid out that countries such as Asia, Africa, South America, the Arctic and other developing nations are more vulnerable to climate consequences and are in more need of urgent adaptation. The only two solutions to deal with the climate change situation are mitigation and adaptation.


Urgent action


Apart from humans, the planet’s flora and fauna on the ground and under the water are at high risk. Many will soon go extinct. The entire ecosystem will witness a transformation detrimental to the planet. We need to cut down GHG emissions drastically to limit the situation from worse to bad. If we do not act now, we will not get a chance to act in the future.



Get to know the detrimental effects of climate change and ways to mitigate them in order to help your organisation and the planet. Enrol for Directors’ Institute’s well-curated - ESG Expert Certification.


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