U.N. sounds ‘deafening’ warning on climate change

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A NBC News journalist takes cover from an approaching LNU Lightning Complex Fire as it engulfs trees and brush in Lake County, California, U.S. August 23, 2020. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
A NBC News journalist takes cover from an approaching LNU Lightning Complex Fire as it engulfs trees and brush in Lake County, California, U.S. August 23, 2020. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere are high enough to guarantee climate disruption for decades if not centuries, scientists warn in a report from the IPCC

* Human activities ‘unequivocally’ causing climate change

* World is likely to hit 1.5C warming limit within 20 years

* Greenland’s melting, sea level rise and other impacts locked in

By Nina Chestney and Andrea Januta

New York – CLIMATE – (Reuters) – The United Nations panel on climate change told the world on Monday that global warming was dangerously close to being out of control – and that humans were “unequivocally” to blame.

Already, greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere are high enough to guarantee climate disruption for decades if not centuries, the report from the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned.

In other words, the deadly heat waves, gargantuan hurricanes and other weather extremes that are already happening will only become more severe.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres described the report as a “code red for humanity”.

“The alarm bells are deafening,” he said in a statement. “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet.”

In three months’ time, the U.N. COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, will try to wring much more ambitious climate action out of the nations of the world, and the money to go with it.

Drawing on more than 14,000 scientific studies, the IPCC report gives the most comprehensive and detailed picture yet of how climate change is altering the natural world — and what could still be ahead.

Unless immediate, rapid and large-scale action is taken to reduce emissions, the report says, the average global temperature is likely to reach or cross the 1.5-degree Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming threshold within 20 years.

The pledges to cut emissions made so far are nowhere near enough to start reducing level of greenhouse gases – mostly carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning fossil fuels – accumulated in the atmosphere.