A newly released report shows global climate change is happening at a rapid rate and human emissions of greenhouse gases are one major cause.
The report, released Monday (August 9) by the United Nations, does say there’s time to avoid major global warming in the next 100 years, but humans have to act now.
“It is indisputable that human activities are causing climate change,” Ko Barrett, vice-chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told NPR. “Each of the last four decades has been the warmest on record since pre-industrial times.”
Nearly 200 of the world’s top climate scientists authored the report and warned that in order to turn things around, humans must stop burning fossil fuels as quickly as possible.
Technological advances in climate science allowed the authors of the report to point to humans as the reason why more extreme weather like flooding and droughts are happening.
“This whiplash –– this increase in both extreme wet and dry events –– is projected to increase through the 21st century,” Kim Cobb, an author on the report and paleoclimate researcher, told NPR.
The impact of global climate change and warming are already evident: heat waves, droughts, flooding, wildfires and more. In the US, the effects of climate change disproportionately impact Black people due to redlining and environmental racism making our communities more vulnerable.
To make a change, scientists say group effort is needed on the part of countries across the globe working together to reduce emissions this decade. World leaders will have to evaluate if reaching the targets set in the 2015 Paris climate agreement –– reducing global warming to under 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit –– are still attainable.
The effect of such action, researchers say, would allow the planet to be more liveable for the rest of the century and beyond.