The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calls for rapid and consistent countermeasures. In the next twenty years, humanity faces a fundamental climate-political path.
The content of the most powerful greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is the highest in two million years: this is one of the findings of the sixth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), presented on Monday.
In the new report, knowledge of atmospheric processes has been deepened; On the other hand, he found that changes in atmospheric chemistry occur more quickly than previously assumed. These findings are based on a much larger database than has been the case with previous reports.
1.5 degree warming in 20 years
There is no region in the world that is not affected by climate change. It is also certain that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are responsible for the 1.1°C warming of the average temperature. “After all, the average temperature is expected to rise by 1.5 degrees over the next two decades. Among other things, scientists attribute the 40% decrease in Antarctic ice (since 1979) to climate change. Over the Arctic, warming is double the global average.
Global warming brings many changes and will continue to exacerbate them.
- Cold seasons decrease, periods of warmth and heat waves increase.
- But: it’s not just about temperatures. Changes in climate also mean that the water cycle is stimulated, which is the reason for the increased frequency of precipitation and floods; In parallel, periods of drought will also occur more frequently.
- Climate change affects precipitation patterns. Precipitation will decrease in the subtropics, while it will increase in others. The occurrence and extent of the monsoon will change.
- Coastal areas will continue to experience sea level rise. Flood events that have occurred so far once every 100 years threaten to turn into annual events.
- The thawing of permafrost will accelerate as climate change increases, and seawater will continue to warm, meaning the oxygen content will continue to decline.
Valerie Mason-Delmott, Co-Chair of the IPCC Working Group I: “There is still potential to influence future climate developments. Climate stability requires strong, rapid and sustainable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”
The first report was submitted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988. 234 authors from 66 countries collaborated on the current report. Another 517 contributed their experiences, and more than 78,000 comments were processed. The report was approved by the member states of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Britain’s Environment Minister Alok Sharma, who will chair the Scottish climate conference, already found agonizing words in interviews with the BBC over the weekend: “Time is running out, we have to act – now, not in a few months or years we don’t have that time.” anymore.”
Six years ago – at the climate conference in Paris – the signatories basically agreed on a goal that the average global temperature should not rise by more than 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the twenty-first century. However, the mandatory consolidation of measures to achieve this goal is missing in almost all of the 196 countries that made the decision in Paris. There are no remarkably effective countermeasures in any country; Austria has a very large deficit in this regard.
More deaths in cities
The average temperature says nothing about the regional and local situation. The Alpine region – and thus Austria as well – is one of the regions of the world most severely affected by global warming. Here the average temperature increased by two degrees Celsius. This is expressed not only in the accelerated melting of alpine glaciers. Cities are particularly affected – a four-degree increase in temperatures is expected here.
The Vienna ecologists, Hans Moshammer and Hans-Peter Hutter, demonstrated the relationship between higher temperatures and higher mortality in several research papers. Accordingly, the decisive factor is the number of days on which maximum values of more than 30 ° C are recorded. If this is the case for more than three days in a row and at the same time night temperatures do not fall below 25 degrees, then scientists talk about “heat waves”. The number of such events has increased dramatically, according to Moschmer and Hutter, while the number of deaths has increased at the same time. In “StartClim” research from 2006, it was reported that 58.91 people die each day during heat waves statistically, while an average of 46.58 people die on days with mild temperatures in July and August.
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