#ClimateChange: IPCC report warns of ‘irreversible’ impacts of #GlobalWarming — BBC

Though overused and overallocated, the Colorado River still provides water for 40 million people in the United States, Mexico and 30 Native American tribes. Water use across the Colorado River Basin has been unsustainable for years, and it was set up to be that way, going back to the 1922 Colorado River Compact that divided up the river. But climate change is now magnifying and accelerating problems in the basin. Photo credit: The Environmental Defense Fund

Click the link to read the article on the BBC website (Matt McGrath). Here’s an excerpt:

Many of the impacts of global warming are now simply “irreversible” according to the UN’s latest assessment. But the authors of a new report say that there is still a brief window of time to avoid the very worst. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that humans and nature are being pushed beyond their abilities to adapt. Over 40% of the world’s population are “highly vulnerable” to climate, the sombre study finds.

But there’s hope that if the rise in temperatures is kept below 1.5C, it would reduce projected losses. Just four months on from COP26, where world leaders committed themselves to rapid action on climate change, this new UN study shows the scale of their task.

“Our report clearly indicates that places where people live and work may cease to exist, that ecosystems and species that we’ve all grown up with and that are central to our cultures and inform our languages may disappear,” said Prof Debra Roberts, co-chair of the IPCC.

“So this is really a key moment. Our report points out very clearly, this is the decade of action, if we are going to turn things around.”

[…]

Warming threats to species

  • About half of the living organisms assessed in the report are already moving, to higher ground or towards the poles.
  • While up to 14% of species assessed will likely face a very high risk of extinction if the world warms by 1.5C, this will rise to up to 29% of species at 3C of warming.
  • For creatures living in areas that are classed as vulnerable biodiversity hotspots, their already very high extinction risk is expected to double as warming rises towards 2C, and to go up tenfold if the world goes to 3C.
  • Prairie smoke is one of the plant species Fort Lewis College researcher Heidi Stetzer is studying to try and understand how a warming climate will influence snowfall in the West. (USFWS Mountain-Prairie Region)

    Click the link to read “‘Delay is Death,’ said UN Chief António Guterres of the New IPCC Report Showing Climate Impacts Are Outpacing Adaptation Efforts” on the Inside Climate News website (Bob Berwyn). Here’s an excerpt:

    The findings show the urgency of immediate climate action, but some scientists worry that the conflict in Ukraine may be distracting from the gravity of its message.

    It might be hard to concentrate on the new science assessment as a war erupts in Europe, but it’s important to focus on both subjects at the same time because they are deeply related, said Rod Schoonover, a climate security expert with the Council on Strategic Risks’ Center for Climate and Security, and a former United States intelligence officer.

    Oil and gas development on the Roan via Airphotona

    “You shouldn’t shut one or the other off. Humanity’s relationship to fossil fuel is underwriting this invasion,” he said. “Putin thought he could get away with it because of Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.”

    In the longer term, ending the addiction could even reduce the need for military spending, since much of it goes to securing sources and transportation of oil and gas. “Reducing reliance on fossil fuels enhances national security for the United States and other countries, and we should make that argument,” Schoonover said.

    In the report, hundreds of scientists representing nearly every country described spiraling climate impacts, with the deadly, destructive effects like floods, famines and wildfires outpacing even some of the most ambitious efforts to adapt. The scientists warned that some of the changes are so extreme and fast that they will push communities beyond their ability to deal with them in places like the Arctic and along some coastlines, and pose a serious threat to food systems in many regions within decades.

    “There are more extremes than the IPCC predicted just a few years ago,” said Rebecca Carter, acting director for climate resilience practice with the World Resources Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based environmental and policy think tank. “This is not just about the future any more. This is now. We didn’t prevent climate change.” Carter was not involved with producing the report.

    Karley Robinson with newborn son Quill on their back proch in Windsor, CO. A multi-well oil and gas site sits less than 100 feet from their back door, with holding tanks and combustor towers that burn off excess gases. Quill was born 4 weeks premature. Pictured here at 6 weeks old. Photo credit: The High Country News

    The body of scientific research on global warming’s health impacts, including on mental health, has grown since the IPCC’s last climate assessment cycle in 2014. It shows that scientists until recently have underestimated the threat of the rapid spread of new infectious diseases, like tropical pathogens carried by insects that are expanding their ranges to areas once too cold for them, for example. And the looming climate threat is raising concerns about serious psychological trauma for many experiencing existential fear, especially young people.

    “Delay is death,” said United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, summarizing the findings of the latest in a 30-year series of reports that are the scientific foundation of the Paris agreement to limit global warming close to 1.5 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), which was reached under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015.

    Guterres said the report presents “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership,” which has ignored the fact that nearly half of humanity is living in the climate danger zone right now, and many ecosystems are already at the point of no return…

    Overshooting the 1.5 Celsius Goal Poses a Huge Risk

    Ecologist Camille Parmesan, one of the lead authors of the report, said it shows that climate impacts will arrive faster and be “much more widespread than we thought.” The science assessed for it by the IPCC opened “a whole new realm on infectious diseases emerging in new areas,” and documents species extinctions and mass mortalities of mammals caused directly by climate change. Local losses of key species are already affecting the stability and integrity of ecosystems, she added.

    Even to the authors, the intensity of some impacts from the current level of warming were surprising and disturbing, she said. Insect-ravaged forests, dried-up peatlands and “even intact, undisturbed Amazon rainforest” are losing their ability to remove carbon dioxide from the air, she said. “Maybe not every year,” she continued, but at a pace that could further accelerate warming.

    Atmospheric CO2 at Mauna Loa Observatory August 7, 2021.

    Meanwhile, global emissions are still going up, and the panel’s report warned how risky it would be to shoot past the Paris agreement goal and rely on unproven carbon dioxide removal technologies to reduce the temperature quickly…

    In the United States and North America, the report says that many millions of people in every sector and in every region are feeling the effects of climate change “much faster and more severely than we previously thought,” said co-author Sherilee Harper, a public health and climate researcher with the University of Alberta.

    USFS highest risk firesheds January 2022.

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