By David Suzuki
There’s no shortage of available, affordable solutions to avoid the worst impacts of a changing climate — and more are being developed every day. Employing them will also bring many other benefits. But with the world rapidly heading toward the threshold of 1.5 C warming beyond which we will likely reach irreversible tipping points, there’s no time to lose.
That’s the message — and warning — from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s sixth assessment report, released on March 20. It synthesizes three previous reports on the physical science, impacts, adaptation, vulnerability and mitigation, and three special reports on the basis for the 1.5 C threshold and impacts on land, the cryosphere and oceans. It’s based on research from tens of thousands of scientific studies gathered over the past five years by three working groups of dozens of scientists and experts from around the world.
Scientists are unequivocal that human activities — mainly burning coal, oil and gas — are warming the planet to unsustainable levels. The average global temperature has already increased by 1.1 C since 1880, with most of the heating in recent years — and the IPCC warns, “current climate policies are projected to increase global warming by 3.2°C by 2100.”