U.N. Climate Change Outlook Grimmer Than Ever

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August 24, 2021

Global warming has accelerated, a United Nations report has found.

IPCC logo

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released an assessment of climate science. The findings of that report, itself an amalgam of many other reports and current scientific information, has found dramatic evidence of global warming-driven climate change.

The last 10 years have been the hottest in 125,000 years, the report found. Alarming to many was the finding that ocean levels were rising at twice the rate as they were just 15 years ago.

If the current conditions continue, the researchers predicted a 3.6-degree (on the Fahrenheit scale) increase in global temperatures in the next two decades. Among the consequences of such a rise would be dramatic changes to the water cycle, accelerating patterns already developing, with drought-prone regions getting even less rain and rainfall-heavy regions getting even more. Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands have recently recorded large-scale flash flooding, wreaking havoc with roads and railroad lines and killing hundreds of people.

Wildfire

At the other end of the spectrum are the several dozen places around the globe that are now burning out of control. California's Dixie Fire might be the most well-known of those hotspots, but the IPCC also cited large-scale wildfires in Greece and Italy, with each country reporting hundreds of fires that have caused widespread devastation and have caused large-scale evacuations.

Illustrating the point that global warming was at a high level, scientists reported that a research facility on top of the ice sheet in Greenland had its first rainfall ever, on August 18. That day was only the third time that temperatures had even risen above the freezing level.

The IPCC has issued similar reports in recent years. In 2018, the panel found that Earth is already two-thirds of the way along a perilous path of global warming and that if serious action isn't taken by 2030, then the effects could irreversible. The clearly spelled out goal of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement was to limit such a rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050. What the 2018 report found—and what the 2021 report has echoed—is that temperatures are getting warmer, meaning that more drastic action is needed.

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