Damage to all continents as a result of climate change will be “irreversible” after 2100 unless world nations can reverse the amount of emissions pumped into the atmosphere.
That’s the stark warning from the UN’s climate research body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Its Synthesis Report released yesterday sums up the findings of its important Fifth Assessment which was produced by more than 800 scientists.
It states: “A large fraction of anthropogenic [manmade] climate change resulting from CO2 emissions is irreversible on a multi-century to millennial time scale, except in the case of a large net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere over a sustained period.”
This means there is “little time before the window of opportunity to stay within 2ºC of warming closes”, according to R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC.
He said: “To keep a good chance of staying below 2ºC, and at manageable costs, our emissions should drop by 40% to 70% globally between 2010 and 2050, falling to zero or below by 2100. We have that opportunity and the choice is in our hands.”
Hammering home the risk that change “will not be achieved if individual agents advance their own interests independently”, the report advises international cooperation is needed to combat greenhouse gas emissions.