IPCC report on climate change: Climate change-sensitive nations have warned they are “on the verge of extinction” if action is not taken.
The warning by a group of developing countries comes after a landmark UN report argued that global warming could render parts of the world uninhabitable.
The report has been called a “wake-up call” by world leaders, including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
But some of the strongest reactions to its findings have come from the countries most likely to be affected.
“We are paying with our lives for someone else’s carbon,” said former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, who represents the nearly 50 countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
The Maldives is the world’s lowest country and Mr. Nasheed said the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections would be “disastrous” for the nation, putting it on the “edge of extinction”.
According to the latest IPCC report, heatwaves, heavy rainfall, and drought will become more common and extreme. The UN chief has dubbed it a “red code for humanity”.
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The report said there is “clear” evidence that humans are to blame for rising temperatures. It adds that temperatures will likely rise by 1.5C within the next two decades.
This could raise the sea level by half a meter, but a rise of 2 meters by the end of the century cannot be ruled out.
Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador Diane Black-Layne and chief climate negotiator for the Coalition of Small Island States said it could have devastating effects on low-lying coastal countries.
“That’s our future right there,” said Ms. Black-Layne.
The report comes less than three months ahead of a major climate summit in Glasgow known as COP26.
Boris Johnson, who is hosting the conference, said the report shows that there is a need for help for countries hit by climate change.
“Today’s report is sobering, and the next decade will be crucial to securing the future of our planet,” he said.
“We know what needs to be done to limit global warming – sending coal to history and shifting to clean energy sources, protecting nature and providing climate finance for countries on the front lines.”
More than 190 governments agreed in 2015 to limit global warming to 2C, or ideally 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
But the new report says that in all scenarios, both goals will be broken this century unless there are drastic reductions in carbon.
US climate envoy John Kerry said countries urgently need to transform their economies to reach their goals.
“This is a critical decade for action, and COP26 in Glasgow should be a turning point in this crisis,” Mr. Kerry said.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg, who confirmed on Monday that she would participate in the COP26 talks, said the report “confirms what we already know … that we are in an emergency”.
“We can still avoid the worst consequences, but if we continue like today, and don’t treat the crisis like a crisis,” she said on Twitter.