New Delhi, Feb 27 (PTI) "Act now or face serious consequences" was the clarion call of climate experts and the authors of the latest IPCC report, titled "Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability", a day ahead of its release.
During an interaction on Sunday to brief about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II's latest report that will be released on Monday, its co-authors unanimously called for urgent action towards adaptation and mitigation measures to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Anjal Prakash, research director and adjunct associate professor at the Bharti Institute of Public Policy, Indian School of Business, said, "Climate change is hitting us hard. We must act now and it is time to make the political will stronger."
Prakash, who is also one of the authors of the IPCC report, warned that coastal cities and the Himalayan region will be at a higher risk due to rising sea levels and a rapid melting of glaciers respectively.
He also asserted that Asia is one of the hotspots of high human vulnerability.
"The report shows that the vulnerability of people to climatic hazards is high in regions and groups that contribute little to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
"Asia is one of the hotspots of high human vulnerability that rises with social, economic and political inequity and is linked to ethnicity, gender and income. Between 2010 and 2020, mortality from floods, droughts and storms was 15 times higher in highly vulnerable countries, mainly the global south," Prakash said during the virtual briefing.
Sharing his insights, Aromar Revi, who has authored the chapter on climate resilient pathways in the IPCC report, said the cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal that climate change is a threat.
"Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all," he said.
Highlighting certain points in the "Summary for Policymakers" (SPM) from the report, Revi added that climate change has already disrupted human and natural systems.
"Past and current development trends (past emissions, development and climate change) have not advanced global climate resilient development. Societal choices and actions implemented in the next decade will determine the extent to which medium and long-term pathways will deliver higher or lower climate resilient development.
"Importantly, climate resilient development prospects are increasingly limited if current greenhouse gas emissions do not rapidly decline, especially if 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming is exceeded in the near term. These prospects are constrained by past development, emissions and climate change, and enabled by inclusive governance, adequate and appropriate human and technological resources, information, capacities and finance," he said.
Another author of the report, Chandni Singh, however, said progress in adaptation planning and implementation has been observed across all sectors and regions, generating multiple benefits.
"However, adaptation progress is unevenly distributed with observed adaptation gaps. Many initiatives prioritise immediate and near-term climate risk reduction, which reduces the opportunity for transformational adaptation," she said.
Singh added that the impacts of climate change are already being felt in Asia at 1.1-degrees Celsius temperature rise through increased flooding, droughts, water scarcity and sea-level rise. She said these particularly affect South Asia.
Singh also asserted that the coastal cities will be severely affected due to the sea-level rise and there can be a "ripple effect" in the inland cities as well.
The report will focus on climate solutions and regional and local adaptation, the authors said, adding that it will also assess the feasibility of various adaptation strategies to curb the current and predicted impacts of climate change.
The "Summary for Policymakers" was approved on Sunday by 195 member governments of the IPCC through a virtual approval session that was held over two weeks, starting February 14.
In the last report that came out in August 2021, the IPCC had warned that the Indian Ocean was warming at a higher rate than the other oceans and India will witness increased heat waves and flooding, which will be the irreversible effects of climate change. PTI AG RC