Human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature, affecting the lives of billions of people around the world, according to the latest state of the climate report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published this week.
The report utilises satellite observations as crucial input, including several long-term datasets of key aspects of the climate, known as Essential Climate Variables, generated via Europe’s leading research teams working as part of ESA’s Climate Change Initiative.
The report confirms that climate change is here to stay and some of its effects are now unavoidable and calls for ambitious, accelerated action to adapt to climate change, at the same time as making rapid, deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
Released on 28 February, the report is the second installment of the latest climate assessment from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The first installment, issued last August, assessed the physical state of the climate, and the third scheduled for April will focus on evaluating humanity’s options for battling climate change, including ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the report, an estimated 3.3 to 3.6 billion people live in regions that are considered “highly vulnerable to climate change.” Yet these impacts are unequally distributed, and those most at risk are often cut off from resources that can help them to adapt or mitigate risk.
The report uses evidence from more than 34 000 scientific sources and show how extreme storms, droughts, floods, heatwaves and wildfires are disrupting food production, interfering with fishing and aquaculture causing damage to cities, infrastructure and human health.
- Climate change has already caused “substantial damages and increasingly irreversible losses, in terrestrial, freshwater and coastal and open ocean marine ecosystems”.
- Increasing weather and climate extreme events “have exposed millions of people to acute food insecurity and reduced water security”, with the most significant impacts seen in parts of Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Arctic.
- Approximately 50 to 75% of the global population could be exposed to periods of “life-threatening climatic conditions” due to extreme heat and humidity by 2100.
- Climate change “will increasingly put pressure on food production and access, especially in vulnerable regions, undermining food security and nutrition”.
- The report calls for ambitious, accelerated action to adapt to climate change and make rapid, deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
Full article: Satellites support latest IPCC climate report