The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has prepared a draft report according to which climate change will radically change life on Earth shortly, even if humanity reduces greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels. This is reported in a press release on Phys.org.
According to the sad forecasts of experts, over the next 30 years, the extinction of species, the widespread of tropical diseases, the destruction of ecosystems, and the flooding of coastal cities will accelerate. The consequences of carbon pollution of the atmosphere will have a greater impact on the lives of the next generations, who are not responsible for global warming, which began at the end of the XX century. The report is scheduled to be published no earlier than February 2022, which, according to many climate scientists, will be too late, since many important international summits on climate change will be held this year.
As Phys.org writes the UN climate advisers came to four main conclusions. First, with a warming of 1.1 degrees Celsius, the climate is already beginning to change. Ten years ago, scientists believed that limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level would be sufficient to overcome the climate crisis. Judging by current trends, at best the planet is approaching 3 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level.
Second, early models also predicted that humans were unlikely to see significant climate change before 2100. However, experts believe that even a short-term excess of the temperature above 1.5 degrees Celsius will lead to irreversible consequences. Last month, the World Meteorological Organization predicted a 40 percent probability that by 2026 the Earth will cross the 1.5-degree threshold for at least one year. Many organisms, including pollinating insects and coral reefs, may not adapt to rapidly changing environmental conditions. Climate change also threatens the indigenous peoples of the Arctic. Global warming has also prolonged fire seasons, doubled the potential burning areas, and led to food losses.
By 2050, tens of millions of people are likely to face chronic hunger, and another 130 million may end up in extreme poverty. Hundreds of millions of people will be at risk of flooding and increasingly frequent storm surges. About 350 million more people living in urban areas will face water shortages due to severe drought with a warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius and 410 million at 2 degrees Celsius.
Third, climate change may become irreversible. Thus, warming by 2 degrees Celsius initiates accelerated melting of the ice sheets of Greenland and West Antarctica. Other tipping points could lead to the transformation of the Amazon basin from tropical forests to savannah and the release of billions of tons of carbon from the permafrost of Siberia, which will contribute to further warming.
Finally, global warming is exacerbated by other forms of human impact on the environment, including the destruction of wild habitats, overexploitation of natural resources, water extraction, pollution, the spread of invasive species, as well as pests and diseases.
Experts suggest several ways to mitigate the crisis. You can, for example, try to preserve ecosystems that are important for carbon deposition, such as mangrove forests, which also protect the coast from storm surges. Switching to a more plant-based diet will also help reduce food-related emissions by 70 percent by 2050. However, even planting billions of trees will not help compensate for industrial emissions if they continue.