Climate change: IPCC report is ‘code red for humanity’

Human activity is changing the climate in unprecedented and sometimes irreversible ways, a major UN scientific report has said.

The landmark study warns of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding, and a key temperature limit being broken in just over a decade. But scientists say a catastrophe can be avoided if the world acts fast. There is hope that deep cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases could stabilise rising temperatures.

IPCC report key points:

  • Global surface temperature was 1.09C higher in the decade between 2011-2020 than between 1850-1900.
  • The past five years have been the hottest on record since 1850
  • The recent rate of sea level rise has nearly tripled compared with 1901-1971
  • Human influence is “very likely” (90%) the main driver of the global retreat of glaciers since the 1990s and the decrease in Arctic sea-ice
  • It is “virtually certain” that hot extremes including heatwaves have become more frequent and more intense since the 1950s, while cold events have become less frequent and less severe

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