The 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Peru can be best described with one word: HOT!
In Lima, Peru it has been about 25 degrees Celsius, sunny, and very humid. Then, when you add in the fact that the air conditioning doesn’t seem to work in most of the venues within the convention, you definitely feel the heat. Seriously though, delegates from around the world have literally been sweating and waving paper in front of their faces to try to keep cool because it is so hot in the venues. But, more importantly, there are other reasons that many people from around the world are feeling the heat here at COP20 in Lima…
“Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.” – IPCC Fifth Assessment Report
“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950’s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea levels have risen.” – IPCC Fifth Assessment Report
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently released its Fifth Assessment Report. It has over 800 authors, and is based on over 9,200 peer-reviewed studies on climate change. Today, members of the IPCC held a plenary session where they highlighted the key findings of their Fifth Assessment Report. Delegates from all over the world, as well as representatives from numerous Non-Governmental Organizations, were in attendance.
So far, we have not made much progress on cutting our total greenhouse gas emissions at all. In fact, from 2000-2010, our total emissions were higher than in any previous decade. And, according to the report, by the year 2050, we will have an ice-free arctic during the month of September when the arctic sea ice is at a minimum. The impacts of climate change on natural and human systems have been felt across the globe.
“Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions which, together with adaptation, can limit climate change risks.” – IPCC Fifth Assessment Report
“Surface temperature is projected to rise over the 21st century under all assessed emission scenarios. It is very likely that heat waves will occur more often and last longer, and that extreme precipitation events will become more intense and frequent in many regions. The ocean will continue to warm and acidify, and cause global mean sea level to rise.” – IPCC Fifth Assessment Report
The plenary session that the IPCC held today is the most serious, yet inspiring message on climate change that I have ever heard. This report definitely signifies that we MUST act. More importantly, we must act VERY SOON. It is critically important that we act now, before it’s too late…because that moment when it will be too late is coming sooner than you think.
By the way, here is the link for the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. I strongly recommend reading the “Summary for Policymakers.” It is a lot less technical and significantly shorter than the full report.