The science behind a clear and present danger

In 1990, the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report concluded that human-caused climate change would soon become evident but could not yet confirm that it was happening. The latest findings unequivocally state that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, land and sea, and that the changes across the climate system are unprecedented.

With this and many other warnings ringing in their ears, world leaders are heading to Glasgow, Scotland for COP26. This UN summit on climate change has been described as ‘seminal’ and ‘humanity’s last chance’ because without immediate action, it’s going to get much worse.

A Code Red for humanity
“Every COP over the last decade has been described as the ‘one that’s going to change the world’. Unfortunately, we’ve heard a lot of talk about targets, but not a huge amount of action. I’m hoping for the best but won’t be surprised if we don’t make that much progress,” admits Paula Owen, CEO and founder of the sustainability agency Green Gumption.

Despite the general pessimism, progress and action are critical, with the latest IPCC report being described as a “code red” for humanity by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “It’s a good description of the situation, but it would have been better said a decade ago,” opines global climatological expert Jim NR Dale.
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