Global warming: the IPCC confirms the urgent need to act, more than ever


Experts from the climate research group have delivered the first part of their sixth report. The tone is very alarmist in the face of faster than expected warming.

Monster fires in the Mediterranean basin and in California, bad weather and devastating floods in Germany and China … The particularly cold and rainy summer that France is experiencing has nothing to do with the current dynamic: globally, the summer of 2021 will be no exception step up to the new rule and will register as one of the hottest of the last twenty years. While the effects of climate change are felt more intensely than ever over the entire surface of the globe, experts from the IPCC, the international climate research group, made a new, eagerly awaited report on Monday on the envisaged climate scenarios.

Climate change is intensifying, notes Valerie Masson Delmotte, paleoclimatologist and co-chair of the working group behind this report. There is an acceleration in the rise of the seas, an intensification of heat waves… We can now say that these upheavals are linked to climate change accelerated by human activities and the emission of greenhouse gases. We are in a crucial period, because the magnitude of the changes of tomorrow will depend on the choices and actions of today. “

“We are in a crucial period, because the magnitude of the changes of tomorrow will depend on the choices and actions of today. “

Valerie Masson Delmotte, paleoclimatologist and co-chair of the IPCC working group I.

VSThis text is the first part of the sixth assessment report of the expert group (the first report was published in 1990, the last in 2014). The first part is devoted to new climate assessments linked to greenhouse gas emissions. The second, which will analyze the impact on ecosystems, was leaked in June, but its publication is not expected until February 2022; the last component, scheduled for March, will focus on adaptation to climate change. This sum, which will compile more than 4,000 pages of analysis and work, aims to assess scientific knowledge and the impact of measures taken to limit the rise in temperatures.

A long marathon which will mark a decisive step next November with the COP 26, the United Nations climate conference, organized in Glasgow (United Kingdom). ” This meeting will provide an opportunity to take stock of the 2015 Paris Agreements, analysis Lola Vallejo, director of the climate program at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (Iddri). We know that most countries are not in a position to achieve their objectives, and the prospect of succeeding in limiting global warming below 2 ° C, as recommended by the Paris agreements, is dangerously fading away. “

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An inevitable warming

The current trajectory puts us on a median trajectory, of an increase of 3 ° C. Among the five scenarios proposed by the scientists in their previous work, the increases envisaged for the end of the century ranged from + 1.5 ° C while drastically limiting our greenhouse gas emissions, to + 4.5 ° C in the worse outlook. “We do not assess in this report our place in these scenarios, explains Valérie Masson Delmotte.But we are showing that by drastically reducing greenhouse gases now, we could see the benefits very quickly within ten or twenty years and thus limit warming to less than two degrees. “ A net reduction in methane and CO2 emissions could limit the temperature rise by 2040, but also reverse the dynamics in the medium term. On the other hand, there are other aspects of climate change that will take much longer regardless. We are talking about decades for the thawing of permafrost and centuries for the acidification of the ocean in depth or the rise in sea level.

The warming is already being felt with an increase of 1.1 ° C since the start of the industrial period. If the whole planet is concerned, this disruption is particularly strong at the level of the poles. In the short term, precipitation will increase in high latitudes, the tropics and much of the monsoon region, but will decrease in the subtropics, increasing the risk of drought. Exceptional events are thus becoming more and more recurrent. What was rare a century ago will become the norm in the years to come. The strong heat spikes that occurred once every fifty years at the turn of the century are occurring almost five times more today. In a 1.5 ° C warmer world, this increase would almost double. In a 4 ° C warmer world, these events would be almost systematic. The world tide records, which occurred once a century, will occur once or twice every ten years by 2050.

“It is to be hoped that the increase in disasters and the awareness of populations will lead to strong decisions, very quickly. “

Lola Vallejo, director of the climate program at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (Iddri).

We must face this reality with lucidity, says Valérie Masson Delmotte. As scientists, we strive to transmit our knowledge, we must not neglect that we have the means to act. The solutions are there. The challenge is to make this possible, so that commitments translate into lower emissions. There is a very strong very positive awareness, particularly among the youngest. “” It is to be hoped that the increase in disasters and the awareness of the populations will lead to strong decisions, and this, very quickly, judge Lola Vallejo.The change of presidency at the White House has given a boost with a very active American diplomacy which, along with Europe, is pushing for in-depth changes. But many countries among the largest emitters, such as China or India, have certainly set very ambitious carbon neutrality targets, but with horizons too distant by 2050 or 2060. Even if they may appear in the nails, it is very likely that the process should be speeded up by taking stronger action now!


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