On August 9, 2021the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published the 1st part of its 6th version. An alarming report on future developments in terms of climate change.
On February 28, the second part of the report was published. This part takes into account the importance of social justice in climate change.
What are the consequences of global warming for the planet and its people?
Indeed, climate change is driving societal change. In all regions of the world, it is the most vulnerable people and systems that will suffer the direct consequences.
The current effects of global warming include :
- Reduced availability of water and food resources (particularly in Africa and Asia).
- An impact on health in all regions of the world, with increased mortality and the emergence and development of new diseases. But also an increase in heat stress and a drop in air quality l.
- The halving of plant and animal species' ranges
These effects are irreversible, and are exacerbated by poverty or limited access to services.
By 2050, 1 billion people could be living in coastal areas threatened by rising sea levels. Increasing heat waves, droughts and floods have already exceeded tolerance thresholds, leading to massive species mortality.
Some populations will have to migrate, as entire regions will become uninhabitable due to increased weather and climate phenomena.
Fundamental figures: some 3.3 to 3.6 billion people, i.e. almost half of humanity, live in contexts that are highly vulnerable to climate change.
These include women, children, the elderly, indigenous peoples, low-income households and, more generally, socially marginalized groups in the world's most vulnerable areas.
What are the solutions to combat the effects of global warming?
Obviously, the degree of vulnerability of systems varies from one geographical area to another, and even within regions. The second part of the IPCC report highlighted the fact that colonialism still has an impact on certain populations today.
With the publication of the first part of the sixth report in August 2021, we have the certainty that climate change is the result of human activity. This was the first report to take into account tipping points (otherwise known as points of no return). In other words, a threshold which, if exceeded, will be responsible for major changes in the climate. This is also known as the runaway phenomenon.
In this section, the report highlights the fact that beyond 1.5°C of warming, climate change will have irreversible impacts (notably on biodiversity). The pace of change and the associated risks depend on short-term mitigation and adaptation measures. Actions taken in the short term may limit losses and damage, but they will not be able to avoid them all. The IPCC stresses that solutions do exist to counter this catastrophic scenario, but that they require systemic transformation. Without change, it will be impossible to adapt.
These changes will not happen without social justice and inclusive development.
In April 2022, the IPCC will publish the third part of its sixth report. This third part should s'focus on solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
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