Causes, Impacts and Solutions
In their most recent report, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) focuses on the causes, impact, and potential solutions to climate change. The report makes it clear that climate change is progressing faster, and hitting harder, than the IPPC had originally predicted. There is still hope, however. The report highlights that, with the correct action, there is still time to avert the more drastic effects of the climate crisis.
“Approximately 40% of the world’s population is “highly vulnerable” to the effects of climate change”
The report shows that approximately 40% of the world’s population is “highly vulnerable” to the effects of climate change. This ranges from large areas of Africa becoming unfarmable to coastal cities being flooded by rising seas. These impacts are already having an effect. The report identified “widespread adverse impacts, and related losses and damages to nature and people”. Key aspects of concern are aspects of climate change that cannot be adapted to and slow onset effects such as rising sea levels.
Climate change is no longer something we are trying to prevent. It is taking place today. All we can do now is act today to limit its impact in the future. The IPPC report makes it clear that “any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future”. It is also important that we take the right action. The report raises concerns that some technologies developed to reduce CO2, or to limit global warming, may run the risk of doing more harm than good by triggering certain ecosystems to release sequestered greenhouse gases back into the atmosphere.
“Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future”
Perhaps surprisingly Debera Roberts, IPCC Co-Chair, states in a BBC article that the report points “very clearly to the cities of the world as a key place for mobilisation” of sustainable solutions. The report clarifies that sustainable solutions are not only the investment in green energy projects and electric cars, but also investment in ecosystems. The IPPC report suggests that 30% to 50% of the world be placed under conservation.
The head of the UN Environment Program, Inger Anderson, said, “nature can be our saviour, but only if we save it first” (Source). Investment in education, health systems and social equality are also highlighted as essential actions in helping people to adapt to the effects of the climate crisis.
“Nature can be our saviour, but only if we save it first”
The report is strikingly clear on the gravity of the situation, but there is still time to limit the more devastating effects of climate change. Alok Sharma, the UK’s COP President, said the report;
“Underscores the urgency with which we must prepare for climate change and address a new reality of loss and damage. The next decade is crucial” (Source)
The Key Points of the Report
- Climate change is hitting harder and faster than anticipated
- Not all environment-focused technologies are having the intended positive impact.
- Cities could play a crucial part by applying sustainable practices
- The time to act is NOW!