Humans are to blame for climate change and its “irreversible” damage to the Earth

People are to blame for climate change

Climate change is already affecting every part of the Earth and its culprit is, “unequivocally” the human species. This is stated by the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change ( IPCC, for its acronym in English), a body linked to the United Nations (UN), in a harsh report published this Monday.

In its sixth Assessment Report on Climate Change, the IPCC reveals that extreme heat is “more frequent and intense” since the 1950s, while extreme cold, including cold spells, has become “less frequent and severe”.

Furthermore, it underlines that many of the observed changes in climate are unprecedented in thousands or even hundreds of thousands of years. And worst of all: it affirms that some of the changes that are already taking place (such as the rise in sea level) are irreversible.

As Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I, has assured, this study is “a reality check.” A reality that has been caused by humans, leading the Earth towards uncontrolled warming. “For decades it has been clear that the Earth’s climate is changing, and human influence on the climate system is indisputable,” said this expert.

This is how the Earth will warm in the coming decades

The IPCC warns that the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are already high enough to guarantee the alteration of the climate for decades, if not centuries. The group explains that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main ‘driver’ of climate change, although it is not the only harmful gas.

The report offers new estimates and considers the possibilities of exceeding the global warming level of 1.5 ° C in the coming decades. In fact, the study concludes that, unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (especially CO2), limit warming to around 1.5 ° C or even 2 ° C will not be possible.

According to UN experts, greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are responsible for approximately 1.1 ° C of warming since the second half of the 19th century. And they expect that, on average, the global temperature will reach or exceed 1.5 ° C of warming during the next 20 years.

As the IPCC explains in its statement, these new forecasts are based on improved data sets to assess historical warming, as well as advances in the scientific understanding of the response of the climate system to greenhouse gas emissions. the greenhouse effect of human origin.

“This report reflects an extraordinary effort in exceptional circumstances,” said Hoesung Lee, chairman of the IPCC, who considers the innovations of the study to be “an invaluable contribution to negotiations and decision-making on climate”.

“Now we have a much clearer image of the past, present and future climate, which is essential to understand where we are going, what we can do and how we can prepare,” Masson-Delmotte pointed out in the same vein.

Climate change already affects the entire Earth

The latest study by these UN experts also emphasizes that climate change is already affecting all regions of the Earth, in multiple ways. And it is that not everything is the increase in temperatures globally.

Climate change also affects the water cycle, causing more intense rains and floods, at the same time that it leads to stronger droughts in other regions of the planet. The IPCC also warns of the detrimental effects on rainfall patterns, as well as the continuous rise in sea level throughout the 21st century, the melting of glaciers and the loss of Arctic sea ice, among others.

“The changes we experience will increase with additional warming,” warned Panmao Zhai, also co-chair of IPCC Working Group I.

However, Zhai points out that it is necessary “to reduce in a forceful, rapid and sustained way greenhouse gas emissions and reach zero net CO2 emissions” in order to stabilize the climate and, therefore, avoid uncontrolled warming and its disastrous consequences for our planet.