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Controversial Changes in Climate Report Statistics

Is the report as truthful as we think?

Photo by Vidar Nordli Mathisen (unsplash)
by Natalia Dec

The newest study published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been said to be the most controversial report on climate change released during recent years. The IPCC is a body set up to provide governments with a clear scientific view on the causes, impacts, as well as possible solutions to damage incurred by climate change. However, after their latest meeting in Incheon, South Korea, and the release of a pre-report draft, many concerns have been raised.

The IPCC has been in existence for over thirty years, and is in charge of producing assessments on the progression of rising temperatures and climate change once every six to seven years. It consists of 86 authors from 39 different countries, and includes over 6,000 references to scientific literature. However, after a review of the draft, some critics have stated that the IPCC has ‘softened’ their conclusions under the pressure of nations with a large interest in fossil fuel industries. There are worries that crucial aspects of the consequences of rising temperatures have been downplayed due to the politics of nations very active in the fossil fuel market. The countries include Saudi Arabia, Australia, and the United States.

Bob Ward, of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, termed the document as “incredibly conservative”. It downplayed crises of low-lying countries, which would be likely to disappear below land-level if temperatures rose above 1.5C of warming. The world has already passed the 1C mark, which is much higher than the global temperatures registered before widespread industrialisation in the 1850s.

The IPCC has stated that to keep below the limit, drastic action would have to be taken by both governments and individual parties. Changes would include lifestyle and dietary changes, as well as technological advancements, which would allow greenhouse gases to be sucked out of the atmosphere. Debra Roberts, a co-chair of the working group on Impacts at the IPCC, states, “it’s a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now”. She adds that “this is the largest clarion bell from the science community and I hope it mobilises people and dents the mood of complacency”.

When the Paris Agreement came into action, nations decided on their common goal of keeping global temperatures within the 2C limit of warming, with a long-term goal of maintaining a temperature 1.5C above pre-industrialisation levels.  Our current reports predict that, without intervention, the world will be 3C warmer by the end of the century. Keeping temperatures at 1.5C, however, could prove indispensable to ecosystems, preventing coral from being completely eradicated, as well as saving a percentage of insects. These are all important changes, and further highlight that more work is needed to be done.

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