UN Climate Report Urges Immediate Action On Climate Change


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The IPCC's report on climate change urges immediate action to prevent a catastrophe (Credit: United Nations)

On August 8, 2021, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its first assessment of climate science since 2013. The news was not good. The report stated that this past decade was the hottest in 125,000 years and that the atmospheric carbon levels are the highest in at least 2 million years. Glaciers are melting faster than any time in over 2,000 years, and ocean levels are rising at twice the rate since 2006.

At the current pace, the researchers expect global temperatures to rise by at least 3.6° Fahrenheit (1.5° Celsius), compared to pre-industrial levels, within the next 20 years. The temperature increases will result in significant changes to the planet's water cycle. Areas that currently receive a lot of rain will get significantly more, while arid regions will become increasingly prone to droughts.

The IPCC report predicts extreme weather in the next few decades (Credit: IPCC [2021])

The IPCC's findings, gleaned from hundreds of scientific reports, come as no surprise to the millions of people worldwide currently feeling the impacts of climate-related disasters. In the United States, the 104 large wildfires now burning across 12 states have cumulatively scorched over 2.4 million acres.

The Dixie Fire, the nation's largest, has devoured 725,821 acres — about three times the size of Manhattan — since it began on July 13, 2021. The blaze, which is only about 40 percent contained as of August 23, 2021, is already one of California's largest wildfires ever. It is second only to the August Complex blaze, which consumed more than one million acres in 2020.

Satellite photo of wildfires, burning across the Western USA as of July 16, 2021 (Credit: NASA)

Many countries in Southern Europe are also battling major blazes. Over 500 fires in Greece have forced thousands of evacuations and scorched large swaths of forests in Evia, Peloponnese, and Attica, the historical region surrounding the capital city of Athens. The area's extreme heat has also ignited hundreds of fires in Sicily and Calabria in Italy.

Meanwhile, an unprecedented week-long storm in July 2021 caused flash floods and mudslides in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Germany was hit the worst. Entire towns were inundated with water, several train lines and roads were destroyed by flash floods, and hundreds of lives were lost.

Simple lifestyle changes can help reverse climate change (Credit: National Ocean Service)

Climate change is even impacting the Earth's coldest and most remote regions. On Wednesday, August 18, 2021, scientists at the Summit Station, a research facility atop Greenland's ice sheet, experienced the first rainfall event in recorded history. It was also only the third time in less than a decade that above-freezing temperatures were recorded at the Arctic research station.

The situation may sound hopeless. However, many experts believe it is still not too late to turn things around, provided we all act now. While governments need to do their share by imposing and adhering to stricter carbon emission legislation, individuals can also help. Driving less, conserving water, and reducing electricity usage are some great ways to start. Adopting the 3 R's of sustainability — Reduce, Reuse and Recycle — will help conserve natural resources and energy. It will also save you and your community — which has to allocate land and resources to dispose of the waste — a lot of money. Be sure to start doing your part to save our beautiful home today!

Resources: Theguardian.com, CNN.com, Globalnews.ca

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  • chantheman
    chantheman25 days
    I'm doing a science project for school. I'm in 7th grade. Climate change is bad, it is unprecedented.
    • soalardog
      soalardog28 days
      I live in Texas, and the Winter Storm was fun, and a big climate change.
      • cajujepasofo
        • cajujepasofo
          im in 5th grade and im doing something to help with climate change.
          • 567769
            56776929 days
            It always snows during winter for me
            • altlantatomboy
              • trickyhacker33
                trickyhacker33about 1 month
                I did a report on climate change. Got an A+. Am in 5th grade
                • noahthebear5610
                  cool im in sixth and finishing it rn
                  • sunxmoon
                    sunxmoonabout 1 month
                    Cool, I'm in 6th grade. and I did one too.
                • redd
                  reddabout 1 month
                  I'm in boracy but there is a lot of rain hopefuly it stops and in other places so lets save our world.
                  • blmsavelife
                    blmsavelifeabout 1 month
                    Wow, absoluetly shocking what is happening to the world, I cannot believe it. We can stop this together guys, #savetheworld!!!!!
                    • animereina2021
                      animereina2021about 1 month
                      Usually where I live when it's September, it's usually cold right now, but it still feels like summer.