Now – if not much sooner – all reasonable doubt has been removed. The weather on the planet is becoming increasingly extreme. Heat waves, like those sweeping across southern Europe now, are getting warmer and more common. Rainstorms, such as the one that hit Germany, are becoming more severe. Tropical cyclones, such as Hurricane Harvey 2017, are becoming more powerful.
These are not warnings from climate models – they are measured changes. This is what climate research has warned of decades ago. Now what happens.
And it is happening quickly, and in many cases significantly faster than what the IPCC judged in its last major review report of 2013. Most importantly – it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that extreme weather events are made worse and more human-caused. greenhouse gas emissions.
The latter is perhaps one of the most important conclusions in the history of climate research. Now – if not so long ago – the debate about the existence of man-made climate change must be carried over into history.
The IPCC report is also coming During a time when the world is suffering from the effects of climate change in real time. Representatives of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change did not delay in determining the timing themselves.
We have record temperatures, droughts and wildfires, as we’ve seen this year, and these days, for example, in Greece and California,” said Petteri Taalas, head of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The IPCC report also kills the stubborn, bizarre notion in rich parts of the world that climate change is affecting poor countries on a massive scale. The map of confirmed human-caused heat waves flashes alarmingly yellow on all continents.
It should be noted that extreme weather events have always occurred. But the statistics in the IPCC report speak for themselves. 150 years of burning fossil fuels have charged the atmosphere and created a world more extreme than climate research can see hundreds, in some cases thousands or even millions of years in the past.
To give some perspective:
The carbon dioxide content is higher than at any time in the past two million years.
Since the 1970s, temperatures have risen faster than at any time in the past two millennia.
The area covered with sea ice in the Arctic is less than 1,000 years old.
Sea levels have risen faster since 1900 than at any time in the past 3,000 years.
When the IPCC looks back, what is happening now takes on a fascinating perspective. But when the Climate Committee looks forward, the acute crisis emerges.
First, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes that humans have embarked on changes that will last for centuries and millennia to come — no matter how quickly emissions are cut. Glaciers will continue to melt, both in Sweden and in the rest of the world. Sea levels will continue to rise, in the worst case scenario, by more than a meter by the end of the century.
Second, the IPCC is raising a warning finger for so-called thresholds, or tipping points, in the climate system. It’s about the risk of permanently changing parts of the system — something that data from, among other things, shows that overturning ice and sediment has occurred in history, sometimes very quickly. Like the collapse of large polar ice sheets, the Gulf Stream has stopped or, as some researchers have warned: the circulation in the atmosphere is constantly changing, which could make already severe weather more extreme. Here, knowledge is still limited, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change points out – the probability of a collapse of the Gulf Stream for example during this century is slim. But on the other hand, the consequences will be almost immeasurable.
Third, human maneuverability is rapidly shrinking. Already in 20 years, warming is expected to exceed 1.5 degrees. For a 67 percent chance of it staying there, we could just emit another 400 billion tons of CO2 – this is called a carbon budget. But this number is calculated from the beginning of the year 2019/2020. Since then, 15 percent of the budget has already been consumed.
If we continue as we are now, the carbon dioxide budget will run out before the 1920s. There are two office shifts apart.
This is still possible, he points out The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – with a clear fit for the Glasgow Climate Summit in November, when the nations of the world gather to hone their climate promises.
But is this possible? barely.
Perhaps the conclusion of the IPCC report should be: The world needs to work hard for the best, but it’s also time to prepare for the worst. The climate impacts observed by the IPCC are already visible, still just a precursor to what awaits if emissions continue to increase – which they still are.
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