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The window of opportunity to secure a viable and sustainable future is rapidly closing.

In a comprehensive report on the 6th evaluation report unanimously approved by the members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Switzerland from the 13th to the 19th (local time), warning that "the window of opportunity to secure a viable and sustainable future is rapidly closing."


According to the report, the global surface temperature from 2011 to 2020 was 1.09 degrees (0.95 to 1.20 degrees) higher than that of 1850 to 1900. For 50 years since 1970, the rise in global surface temperature has been faster than any other 50 years in at least the last 2,000 years.


The increase in the global surface temperature "by humans" is likely to be around 1.07 degrees (0.8 to 1.3 degrees), and the main method is greenhouse gas emissions. The cumulative greenhouse gas emissions from 1850 to 2019 are estimated to be 2,400±240Gt (a gigaton), with 58% being emitted from 1850 to 1989, and 42% from 1990 to 2019. As of 2019, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 410 ppm, the highest in 2 million years.


Concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere were 1,866 ppm and 332 ppm, the highest in at least 800,000 years. In 2019, net greenhouse gas emissions were 59±6.6 Gt in terms of carbon dioxide conversion. Seventy-nine percent came from energy, industry, transportation, and buildings, while the rest were emitted using land, including agriculture and forestry.


Climate change is causing continuous damage to the land, freshwater, snow ice, coastal and ocean ecosystems, and increasing irreversible losses, the report pointed out. It also said 3.3 billion to 3.6 billion people are very vulnerable to climate change.


"Climate change is also affecting food and water security," the report said. "Agricultural productivity has risen overall, but climate change has slowed this growth over the past 50 years."


Although climate change has positively affected high-level agricultural productivity, it is said that the middle and low levels have also adversely affected agricultural productivity. Rising sea temperatures and acidification are believed to have adversely affected fishing and aquaculture in some oceans.


Regarding water, he said, "About half of the world's population suffers from water shortages even in part of the year due to climate and non-climate factors." The report pointed out, "Climate change has a wide range of adverse effects," adding, "It is also related to losses and damage that appear unevenly by system, region, and region."


The report evaluated that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement have made countries raise their goals about greenhouse gas reduction. The agreements also said that climate change mitigation and adaptation activities have increased, and some have been effective in reducing climate risks.


However, he pointed out that there is a limit.


The report estimated that if the 26th General Assembly of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), that is, the 2030 National Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals (NDCs) announced before October 2021, the global average temperature increase will exceed 1.5 degrees within this century. In particular, if each country implements the NDC without raising it, the global average temperature increase will reach 2.8 degrees (2.1-3.4 degrees) by 2100.


"The flow of funds (to combat climate change) is also insufficient to meet climate targets in all areas and regions," the report added. He also pointed out that annual investment costs to mitigate climate change between 2020 and 2030 should increase three to six times the current level.


According to the report, even in SSP1-1.9, the "Common Social Economic Path" (SSP) scenario that emits the least carbon, the global average temperature increase is likely to reach 1.5 degrees, and in scenarios where carbon emissions are above 1.5 degrees, or very high.


The third working group report released earlier suggested that the probability of the Earth's surface temperature being more than 1.5 degrees higher than that of 1850-1900 by 2030 is 40-60%.


The 1.5-degree limit on the global average temperature rise is a goal under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.


"Climate disasters and risks across the globe are expected to increase shortly," the 6th report said, citing high-temperature deaths and diseases, waterborne and food and vector-borne diseases, mental health problems, coastal and low-lying floods, reduced biodiversity in some areas, and landslides.


In particular, the report said, "As the interaction between climate and non-climate risk factors increases, complex and continuous risks will emerge that are more complex and difficult to cope with."


The report said rising sea levels, the collapse of the Antarctic ice sheet, and the decrease in biodiversity are inevitable even if the global surface temperature is limited. In the meantime, he added that if warming intensifies, the probability of "sudden or irreversible change" will also increase.


The report stressed that Net Zero must be achieved to mitigate global warming. In particular, it was determined that carbon emissions should be reduced by 43% of 2019 emissions by 2030 to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees, and 27% to limit carbon emissions to 2 degrees.


"The window of opportunity to secure a viable and sustainable future for everyone is rapidly closing," the report said, stressing that the path should be quickly changed to "climate elastic development."


Edited by Palak Chauhan

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