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The 5 key findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2021 report

The effects of climate change are being felt in every country in the world.

Weather phenomena are extreme, with major floods in Germany, Belgium and China, for example, causing significant loss of life and property. Even the Arctic has caught fire and lost an area of ice the size of Florida. The average warming is 1.1 degrees Celsius and all these changes are already apparent, but by 2100 the group of experts estimates that it will be 4.4 degrees Celsius with catastrophic consequences for the life of humanity. This decade is decisive, to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions and limit the effects of global warming.

1. A warming of 1.5°C in the next two decades is on the way.In the scenarios studied by the International Panel on Climate Change, there is more than a 50% chance that the 1.5°C increase in global warming will be reached or exceeded between 2021 and 2030. But if carbon dioxide emissions are higher, the 1.5°C threshold will be reached more quickly, between 2018 and 2037.

2. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C by 2100 is still impossible
The total remaining amount of carbon that the planet can emit (carbon budget), to limit warming to 1.5°C is 400 gigatonnes, as of 2020. To this rate can be added 220 giga tonnes if we take into account emissions other than carbon dioxide, such as methane. Yet global emissions are estimated at 36.4 gigatonnes per year, which is only 10 years for the carbon budget to run out.

3. The understanding of climate science is now stronger
Attribution science linking extreme events to human-induced emissions now has more observational data and simulation results on global warming. It is now clear that the extreme effects of climate change are linked to human-induced emissions such as fossil fuel burning and logging. Of the 1.1 degrees of warming observed since pre-industrial times, the IPCC estimates that less than 0.1 degrees is due to natural forcings, such as volcanoes or solar variations.

4. The changes observed are unprecedented in recent history and will affect all regions of the world.
The IPCC report shows that no region will be spared the effects of climate change, with huge human and economic costs that far outweigh the costs of action. Southern Africa, the Mediterranean, the Amazon, the western United States and Australia will experience increased droughts and fires, which will continue to affect livelihoods, agriculture, water systems and ecosystems. Storms are likely to become more intense in most parts of North America, Europe and the Mediterranean.
5. Each fraction of a degree of warming brings more dangerous and costly consequences.
The IPCC report states that at 3°C and 5°C respectively, projections suggest a near-complete loss of the Greenland ice sheet (which contains enough ice to raise sea level by 7.2 metres or 23.6 feet) and a complete loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet (which contains ice equivalent to a sea level rise of 3.3 metres or 10.8 feet). The risk of exceeding tipping points, such as sea level rise due to ice sheet collapse, the intensity and frequency of extreme precipitation events, the severity of droughts and heat waves, or changes in ocean circulation, cannot be ruled out in future planning.
The only way to prevent global warming and its extreme effects is to achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions, while also reducing the emission of other gases. This would require a rethink of how goods and services are used and produced, how land is managed, and action at large scales. Before COP26 in Glasgow, each country should propose tougher emission reduction targets for 2030 and commit to achieving net zero emissions by mid-century.