MELBOURNE: Climate change: New report will highlight ‘stark reality’ of warming

MELBOURNE: Climate change: New report will highlight ‘stark reality’ of warming

MELBOURNE: UN researchers are set to publish
their strongest statement yet on the science of climate change.

report will likely detail significant changes to the world’s oceans, ice caps
and land in the coming decades.

It will
be their first global assessment on the science of global heating since 2013.

It is
expected the forthcoming Summary for Policymakers will be a key document for
global leaders when they meet in November.

politicians are due to gather for a climate summit, known as COP26, in Glasgow.

After two weeks of virtual negotiations between
scientists and representatives of 195 governments, the IPCC will launch the
first part of a three-pronged assessment of the causes, impacts and solutions
to climate change.

It is the
presence of these government officials that makes the IPCC different from other
science bodies. After the report has been approved in agreement with
governments, they effectively take ownership of it.

Monday, a short, 40-page Summary for Policymakers will be released dealing with
the physical science. It may be brief, but the new report is expected to pack a

seen over a couple of months, and years actually, how climate change is
unfolding; it’s really staring us in the face,” said Dr Heleen de Coninck,
from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, who is a
coordinating lead author for the IPCC Working Group III.

really showing what the impacts will be, and this is just the start. So I think
what this report will add is a big update of the state of the science, what
temperature increase are we looking at – and what are the physical impacts of

So what can we expect from the upcoming report?

to many observers, there have been significant improvements in the science in
the last few years.

models have gotten better, we have a better understanding of the physics and
the chemistry and the biology, and so they’re able to simulate and project
future temperature changes and precipitation changes much better than they
were,” said Dr Stephen Cornelius from WWF, an observer at IPCC meetings.

change has been that attribution sciences have increased vastly in the last few
years. We can make greater links between climate change and extreme weather

As well
as updates on temperature projections, there will likely be a strong focus on
the question of humanity’s role in creating the climate crisis. It’s expected
that this time the IPCC will also outline just how much of an influence humans
are having on the oceans, the atmosphere and other aspects of our planetary

One of
the most important questions concerns sea-level rise. This has long been a
controversial issue for the IPCC, with their previous projections scorned by
some scientists as far too conservative.

the past they have been so reluctant to give a plausible upper limit on sea-level
rise, and we hope that they finally come around this time,” said Prof
Arthur Petersen, from UCL in London.

As the
world has experienced a series of devastating fires and floods in recent months
that have been linked to climate change, the report will also include a new
chapter linking extreme weather events to rising temperatures.

Many have
welcomed this development.

remain hopeful that the scientific evidence will show the stark reality of a
world already altered by our rapidly changing climate and will motivate all
nations to deliver urgent emission reductions and the necessary amount of
climate finance at COP26,” said Mohammed Adjei Sowah, who is the mayor of
Accra in Ghana and vice chair of the C40 group
of cities.

only need to look out of our windows to see that the climate crisis is already
here. Cities such as Accra and nations such as Ghana, which have contributed
the least to greenhouse gas emissions, will experience many of the greatest impacts.”

One of
the things that gives the report additional muscle is the fact that it is not
just one particular research paper on one topic – the reviewers consider all
the research carried out on each area of focus.

the IPCC gets criticised for being focused on consensus, and it’s suggested
that this can weaken statements,” said Dr Emily Shuckburgh, from the
University of Cambridge.

the fact that it is a summary across multiple lines of evidence is incredibly
powerful and incredibly useful.”

One key
question in the new summary will be about the 1.5C temperature target. The
climate summit held in the French capital, Paris, in 2015, committed nations to
try to limit the rise in global temperature from pre-industrial times to no
more than 1.5 degrees.

report showed very clearly was that there are clear, clear benefits to limiting
warming to 1.5C and those benefits have only become clearer over the past three
years,” said Dr de Coninck, who was one of the key authors of that study.

this report says something about that temperature limit in relation to
emissions and how they are developing, it will have a political influence on
COP26 I think.”

With just
a few months to go until world leaders meet in Glasgow for the climate conference
that is seen as the most important since the Paris agreement came into being in
2015, this new report will be required reading for all attendees.

think it’s going to be a wake-up call, there’s no doubt about that,” said
Richard Black, an honorary research fellow at the Grantham Institute at
Imperial College London.

then again, so are some of the real world events that we’re seeing around us at
the moment.”

Leave a Comment