Why in news?
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released the first part of its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) titled Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis.
- Human activities are driving climate change, and the planet will be warmed by 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels within the next two decades.
- The warming of 1.5 degrees is inevitable even with best of measures.
- CO2 concentration is the highest in the atmosphere in the last 2 million years and the World has already consumed 86% of its carbon budget.
- Sea levels are rising and there will be increased coastal erosion and flooding of low lying areas in the 21st century.
- With rise of every 0.5 degrees the hot extremes, rains and droughts will rise.
- The pace of melting of glaciers will be accentuated resulting in change in water cycles, flooding in low lying areas etc.
- The current commitments of countries to curb emissions will lead to global warming of at least 7°C by 2100, referred to as 'Code red for humanity'.
- The 2015 Paris Agreement goals will probably not be reached unless all countries implement extremely deep emissions cuts immediately.
- Because of its irreversible impacts, many consider climate change as a greater threat than COVID-19.
- Countries should aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, which means no additional greenhouse gases will be released into the atmosphere.
- Net-zero emissions: All man-made greenhouse gas emissions must be removed from the atmosphere through reduction measures, thereby reducing the Earth's net climate balance to zero, after removal through natural and artificial sinks.
- Achieving net-zero temperatures by 2050 was the only way to keeping global warming at 1.5°C.
- Many nations have announced their targets to achieve Net-zero by 2050 and there is immense pressure on India to follow suit.
- Points related to India -
- India will experience heatwaves and melting of Himalayan glaciers and massively heavy rainfalls towards the end of the century.
- Rise in rainfall is expected over the years to come.
- India is seen as the world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. But its emissions per head are low owing to its large population of 1.3 billion.
- The IPCC is an intergovernmental body created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- Climate change is not itself investigated by the IPCC. Its role is rather to ask scientists from all over the world to examine scientific literature and reach logical conclusions.
- The IPCC produces climate change reports that contribute to the work of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the principal international climate change treaty.
- Climate change assessment reports produced by the IPCC are the most comprehensive scientific evaluations of the state of the earth's climate.
- The first assessment report was published in 1990, and five have been produced so far.
- 2007 was the year that the IPCC released its fourth assessment report, which won the Nobel Peace Prize.
- In the lead-up to the climate change conference in Paris, the 5th assessment report was released in 2014.
- Three working groups of scientists create the IPCC reports.
- Working Group-I : Examines the science behind climate change
- Working Group-II: Examines potential impacts, vulnerabilities, and adaptations.
- Working Group-III: Discusses ways for combating climate change.
Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC: Suggestions
- Countries should set goals to reduce emissions by 2030 and develop long-term strategies to reach net-zero emissions.
- The developed countries with legacy emissions should take steps to reduce their emissions and transfer technology without conditions to emerging economies and heavily fund adaptation and mitigation.
- All countries should update their climate change action plans, called NDCs, with stronger climate policies.
- The construction of new coal plants after 2021 must be
- The capacity of solar and wind will quadruple by 2030, and renewable energy investments will triple, in order to achieve net-zero energy by mid-century
- Climate mitigation strategies submitted by nations under the Paris Agreement are not sufficient to limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C or even 2°C.
- According to scientists, if the temperature rises beyond 2 degrees Celsius, it would produce irreversible and catastrophic changes that would make it difficult for humans and other animals to survive.
- Therefore world leaders, businesses, civil society and individuals must act together with urgency and to do whatever it takes to develop a plan to save the planet.