Five valuable points in the IPCC report on climate change impacts and adaptation.
The latest report from the UN’s (IPCC)-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Looks at the impacts, adaptation, and vulnerabilities associated with the Climate crisis.
We are three of the 270 scientists and researchers who wrote it.
The document reports stark new findings on the way current global warming of 1.1℃.
Its impacting natural and human systems with every additional increment of warming.
Here are five precious/valuable points in the new report:
1. Risks will be magnified if warming is unchecked:-
Since the previous IPCC report on impacts and adaptation back in 2014, heatwaves, droughts, wildfires.
Other extremes have increased in frequency and intensity far beyond natural variability.
These hazardhave substantially damaged ecosystems across the globe.
Some cases led to irreversible losses such as species extinction.
Humans are also hit too, through heightened food.
Water insecurities, greater incidences of food water-, and vector-borne diseases.
And worse physical and mental health.
If global warming is left unchecked, these climate hazards will inevitably increase. Every increment of global temperature rise magnifies the resulting loss and damage.
2. Adaptation is hitting limits:-
The report says that much of the world’s current climate adaptation measures are not necessarily effective.
In fact, there are both “hard” and “soft” limits.
In natural systems, the hard limits mean that no amount of human intervention can make a difference.
For example, warm water coral reefs may completely disappear if ocean temperatures continue increasing.
In human systems, soft limits include obstacles like insufficient finance and poor planning.
Which could be addressed through more inclusive governance.
However there are also hard limits such as limited water in small islands, as rising seas and extreme weather can mean sea water contaminates fresh water.
And once we lose an island to sea-level rise, no amount of adaptation will bring that island back.
The IPCC also finds that adaptation cannot prevent all losses and damages, which are unequally distributed around the world.
3. Maladaptation can make things worse:-
The IPCC cites evidence of adaptation actions that further deepen existing social inequities.
Lead to adverse outcomes what’s known as “maladaptation.
One example would be when a sea wall is built to protect a settlement from sea-level rise.
Leading to the emergence of flooding as a new hazard.
Unfortunately, there is ample evidence of maladaptation, and it especially affects marginalized and vulnerable people.
For this latest report, the IPCC also made a conscious effort to bring in philosophers, anthropologists.
Many different disciplines which may not be seen as traditional areas of climate change research.
This meant drawing on more qualitative social sciences and providing a richer picture of topics like vulnerability and climate justice.
4. Cities are a challenge – and an opportunity:-
Among the figures reported, more than a billion people in low-lying settlements face hazards.
Such as sea-level rise, subsiding coasts, or flooding at high tides.
While 350 million urban residents live with the threat of water scarcity.
Climate change extreme temperatures also worsen ongoing problems in cities, such as air pollution.
These include physical barriers to stop floods and rising seas.
Nnature-based solutions such as planting trees upstream to slow excess river flows and shade homes in heatwaves, or restoring mangroves that protect communities from coastal flooding.
The report also cites social policy measures such as cash transfers to provide safety nets, insurance, and other types of livelihood support.
5. The window of opportunity is closing, rapidly:-
The new report emphasizes the need to couple adaptation measures with greenhouse gas emission.
Reductions to enable climate resilient development.
This will require adequate financing, inclusive governance.
Transparency in decision making, and the participation of a wide range of people and groups.
Current development policies which accelerate greenhouse gas emissions.
Actually increase climate maladaptation risks and widen social inequalities.
To urgently shift our collective course from 1.5℃ of warming and beyond.
The report charts paths for climate-resilient development that policymakers can apply.
All of which reduce climate risks while improving lives.
Specially among those most vulnerable to global warming.