Australia has experienced a sharp increase in the number of forest fires in recent decades caused by climate change. Now the UN Climate Panel has released a new report, which states that we must act immediately to meet the climate goals. Photo: Doug Beckers. Source: Flickr.


Urgent need for emission reduction to meet the 1,5-degree target

Man's carbon dioxide emissions are at a record level and the trend must reverse within the next three years if we are to meet the climate goals. This is stated by the UN Climate Panel in its latest interim report. In the past, they have also stated that many of the effects of climate change will not be reversed, and that the countries of the world should take drastic measures to protect both humans and the earth's ecosystems.

During the week, the UN climate panel released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) its third interim report. It shows that carbon dioxide emissions are at a record high level - and that the trend must reverse within the next three years in order for us to meet the 1,5- and 2-degree target. Globally, greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 12 percent since 2010. Several industrialized countries, including Sweden, have however, managed to reverse the curve

And according to the IPCC, there are several positive trends that can help us meet our climate goals. Both solar energy and wind power have become cheaper and the cost of technology that enables green energy has fallen, writes SVT Nyheter.

Climate change is affecting people's living standards

In 2021, the climate panel released it first part of the Sixth Amendment Report series. Reports focused on how human activity drives climate change and what consequences it creates. The other one the report, released in February, differ. It describes how climate change concretely affects human life and how well people manage to protect themselves from current effects such as floods, dry periods and other natural disasters. Researchers find that climate change has already begun to affect people's socio-economic conditions and living standards, and that not enough is being done to protect people from the threats posed by climate change here and now. 

Among other things, the report shows that economic growth has already slowed down in some countries as a result of natural disasters. Warmed seas are leading to the extinction of more fish that people feed on and people's access to food has begun to be increasingly affected.

Martina Angela Caretta, geographer at Lund University and researcher in climate adaptation, has participated in the report's research work. She explains that increased dry periods in some areas, but also more rainfall and floods in other areas, will affect agriculture more than it already does and thus the availability of food.

In agriculture, for example, irrigation is effective in being able to continue producing food in increasingly drier areas. But if we do not manage to stop the warming at 1,5 or 2 degrees, we risk ending up in a situation where we may not be able to continue watering, because then the groundwater runs out, says Martina Angela Caretta to Today's news. 

Low-income countries and vulnerable groups are most affected

The report also states that effects such as floods, droughts and storms have already caused 15 times more deaths in low-income countries than in high-income countries. Furthermore, the possibility of adapting to natural disasters and the consequences of climate change is less in these regions due to lack of resources. In addition, vulnerable groups such as women and indigenous peoples are given the least resources for adaptation.

Ani Dasgupta, head of the research organization World Research Institute, believes that it is vulnerable groups in low-income countries that will be hardest hit by climate change. Photographer: World Research Institute. Source: Flickr.

- People with the least resources, those who are least responsible for the climate crisis, bear the burden of climate impact. says Ani Dasgupta, CEO of the non-profit research organization World Research Institute, to New York Times. He continues:

- If you do not live in a hot spot, imagine instead a roof that has been blown away, a village that is overwhelmed by salt water, a failed harvest, a lost job, a meal that has been skipped - all at once, over and over again again.

There is hope

In some respects, governments have succeeded in taking measures to protect people, but they have been far too few. The report states that there is still a window to protect humans and ecosystems. Then it is required that humans limit warming to 1,5 degrees, among other things by governments taking concrete adaptation measures to protect people from effects that occur even at 1.5 degrees warming. In developing countries, this can mean, among other things, that invest in roads, electricity and water resources.

- As the climate impact worsens - which it will - it will be necessary to scale up investment in order to survive, states the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

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