‘Code Red for Humanity’: UN Climate Report Shows Desperate Need for Change

By: Alyssa Wilson

A new report released by climate scientists warns the planet will continue to warm by 1.5°C, which is about 34.7°F, in the next twenty years.  

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations’ body to study and assess science relating to climate change, released the report. Scientists who worked on the document revealed the total responsibility of human activity for the Earth’s rising temperatures and predicted there is no end to the troubling trend without significant change.  

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According to Bloomberg Green, the IPCC authors of the nearly 4,000-page report came to the conclusion the temperatures would continue to rise without cuts to emissions in the next few decades.  

More than 200 scientists worked on the report, which was approved by delegates from 195 nations around the world. The top findings in the report reveal that the past decade was likely hotter than any period in the last 125,000 years. Additionally, it shows that combustion and deforestation have also increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to levels higher than they’ve been in the last two million years.  

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The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, says the report is a “code red for humanity,” citing how specific industries are harming the planet. “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels before they destroy our planet,” he said.  

In the last few months, the world has seen the dangers of climate change at full force. Europe and China have experienced disastrous flooding while the Western United States has been dealing with drought and large wildfires. In Siberia, one of the coldest places on Earth, there have been severe heat and forest fires, Bloomberg Green reported.  

The chance of staying below the 1.5°C threshold is possible if carbon emissions remain below 500 billion tons, but the current rate of emissions would reach that milestone in 13 years.  

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“Our opportunity to avoid even more catastrophic impacts has an expiration date,” Helen Mountford, the Vice President of Climate and Economics at the World Resources institute, said. “The report implies that this decade is truly our last chance to take the actions necessary to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. If we collectively fail to rapidly curb greenhouse gas emissions in the 2020s, that goal will slip out of reach.”  

If you or someone you know is struggling with trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here 

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