Climate Change

U.N. Secretary-General Describes Climate Report A “Code Red For Humanity”

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“Unequivocal” that human actions have increased the Earth’s temperature and caused “widespread and rapid (climate) changes”.

By Maryam Razzaq

The United Nations’ (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has announced a “code red for humanity” in a report that was released Monday. The report warns that the Earth will see an increase in more climate disruptions for decades, if not centuries. In the past, rapid actions to decrease the greenhouse gas emissions could have limited severe impacts to global warming, but now the effects to climate change are inevitable. 

The report is 3,900 pages and it is the first report in eight years capturing this level of detail surrounding climate change. It has been contributed to by 234 scientists from 66 countries. As it references 14,000 published scientific articles, it is understood that the findings will strongly influence local, provincial and world leaders.

Across the globe, temperatures continue to rise, alongside severe droughts and fires rampant. This is not by accident. The UN report outlined how it is “unequivocal” that human actions have increased the Earth’s temperature and caused “widespread and rapid changes”. 

While humanity can still limit the most catastrophic effects of climate change, many of the changes currently occurring have started and their cycle of destruction will continue – this includes heat waves and rising sea levels. Significant cuts in fossil-fuel use could save the Earth from experiencing catastrophic climate change, concludes the report.

Major topic of concerns

  1. Climate change is irrevocably worsening

Since the 19th century, planet Earth has warmed significantly by 1.1 degrees Celsius or 2 degrees Fahrenheit. This is largely due to fossil fuels, which trap heat in the atmosphere and cause the Earth to warm more. 

“Each of the last four decades has been successively warmer than any decade that preceded it since 1850,” states the UN report. Consequently, heat waves and wildfires have been on a rise in recent decades.

Studies have shown that since 1950, glaciers around the world have been melting at a speed “unprecedented in at least the last 2,000 years”. As such, sea levels have increased 8 inches since 1900 and the increase rate has double since 2006. 

  1. Humans are destroying the Earth

Humans are responsible for 98% of the Earth warming. Natural occurrences, solar activity and volcanoes have a very miniscule impact.

“It Is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land,” outlines the UN report. 

  1. “Code red for humanity”: The new reality

As a direct result of burning fossil fuels, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as at its highest and this is a new reality if humans continue to release millions of tons more fossil fuels into the Earth’s atmosphere. 

“Many changes due to past and future greenhouse gas emissions are irreversible for centuries to millennia, especially changes in the ocean, ice sheets and global sea level,” outlined the report.

  1. Actions to take to make a positive impact and deter the catastrophic effects of global warming

By the end of the century, the Earth is expected to increase temperatures by roughly 3 degrees Celsius or 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit. 

If there is a global effort to stop the use of fossil fuels through the development of new technologies to remove carbon from the atmospheres, the temperate rise could be only 2 degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050.

If humans continue to release fossil fuels into the atmospheres, then temperatures will increase by at least 3 degrees Celsius or 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 and this will result in the collapse of ice sheets, extensive changes in the ocean’s circulation patterns which would severely disrupt the world’s weather and agriculture. 

  1. Global leader must act

UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has released a statement hoping that the report will be a “wake-up call for the world to take action now, before we meet in Glasglow”.

US President, Joe Biden tweeted after the report’s release Monday: “We can’t wait to tackle the climate crisis. The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. And the cost of inaction keeps mounting”.

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has yet to comment on the report released by the UN on Monday, but he has been extremely vocal in his support for climate change. Earlier this year, Trudeau shared that, “Canada is a committed partner in the global fight against climate change, and together we will build a cleaner and more prosperous future for all”.

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