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IPCC Report: Need for Climate Action

 The latest sixth assessment report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on 9th August, 2021, indicates some key areas of concern related to climate change. According to the report, 1.5 degree celsius warming is likely to be experienced before 2040. The report says that warming is inevitable and immediate climate action is needed to achieve the best case scenario and minimise the level of warming.



A future of Extreme Events


The report pointed out that the increase in intense heat waves, extreme rainfall, dangerous rise in sea-levels, frequent droughts and melting of ice are a direct consequence of human activities. The scientists involved in the assessment have warned about a rise in such extreme events in the present and future. At 2 degrees of global warming, the heat can impact human health as well as agriculture. 


The report also indicated the possibility of rise in “compound events” in the future, as a result of global warming. Compound events are severe and deadly. The lake bursts and landslides that happen in the Himalayan region is an example of a compound event. 



Climate Action and Net-Zero Target


The IPCC report addresses the question of how long it will take to see the results after the immediate implementation of the Climate Action plan and whether good results can be experienced by lowering the carbon emission. The report has suggested immediate cuts in greenhouse gases. This has pressured many countries to renew their Climate Action Plan or the Nationally Determined Contributions(NDCs) decided in the Paris agreement. 


This has triggered the countries to take up the net-zero target. More than 100 countries have agreed to achieve the net zero target by the middle of this century, including the US, China and European Union. Net zero is also known as carbon neutrality. It does not mean cutting the carbon emissions to zero. It means a state in which the carbon emission of the country is compensated by absorption and removal of greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. The gases are absorbed by creating more carbon sinks like forests. 


India is the third largest emitter in the world and a lot of pressure is being built on the developing nations to take up the net-zero target. The report says that global net-zero targets can keep the temperature rise in its best case scenario, and it is not possible without wider cooperation by the countries. 


Alok Sharma, the UK minister who will be presiding over the climate change talks in Glasgow said “The science is clear, the impacts of climate crisis can be seen around the world and if we do not act now, we will continue to see the worst effects, impact lives, livelihood and natural habitat.”